IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems - December 2017 - 17
IBM PowerAI brings together artificial
intelligence solutions for enterprises
By Ryan Edwards Bertrand k Illustration by Martin Sati
hen you're big, it's tough
to be quick. The artificial
intelligence (AI) boom
has sent some startups soaring into
the future, but it's left some big
enterprises planted in the past.
"Every industry is being
disrupted by AI startups-FinTech
tools in the banking industry,
self-driven cars in the auto
industry-these new companies
are using AI to disrupt the older
companies," says Sumit Gupta,
vice president for IBM High
Performance Computing, AI and
"It's 'the art of the possible.' All
of these companies are proving
what's possible and forcing
enterprises to look at emerging
technologies to figure out how
they can provide value to clients,
improve services and optimize
business processes," Gupta says.
In the next year, enterprises
will try to refine strategies and
make bigger investments in AI-
but many struggle with where to
start. Enterprise teams need an AI
platform that's ready to work.
Approach to AI
"I was describing a describing
a high-end hardware system
designed for AI to a major financial
client in London," Gupta recalls.
"And the client said, 'I like that,
but can you guys give us the AI
software? Can you guys precompile
it? We don't want to download and
compile the open source.' "
The client explained that
corporate policies didn't allow the
team to download open-source
software. And every time the
team downloaded approved
source code, they spent up to a
week compiling it and setting
it up. Plus, they had to fend for
themselves with no real support.
Gupta realized that his hardware
team needed to expand its scope. "I
remember coming back and telling
the team, 'Let's make a software
offering,' " he says. "We completely
changed the plan." And that's how
IBM PowerAI was born.
IBM Power Systems* hardware
is the foundation for AI solutions
based on open-source software.
adapts to a
domain by using
features in the
But enterprises often find
that their environments are
too complex and regulated to
effectively use open-source
platforms. Maintaining these
platforms within enterprises can
be time-consuming, and some
open-source software licenses
restrict commercial use or require
that any intellectual property
must become public domain.
As a result, enterprises gravitate
toward commercial software.
Gupta saw a clients' need for a
pre-configured platform for AI
projects on an enterprise scale.
* Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting
traditional business models.
* The IBM Power Systems platform provides
a firm foundation for AI implementations.
* IBM PowerAI offers a comprehensive
AI workbench based on open-source
ibmsystemsmag.com DECEMBER 2017 // 17