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June 26, 2019 Jeremy Boren

TechHub: AI Benchmarks, Transform2019, Ransomware and GE Digital

AI Adoption Can be Tricky — Performance Benchmarks Might Help

Designing an AI solution can be difficult. Comparing different AI tools to one another can be even trickier.

That’s why MLPerf, a consortium of more than 40 technology companies including Facebook and Google, are issuing standards for how AI tools should perform tasks such as “image recognition, object detection and voice translation.”

Andrew Ng, founder of Landing AI, speaking at a conference in Las Vegas in June. Landing AI is part of MLPerf. PHOTO: MARK RALSTON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

According to WSJ, “David Schubmehl, research director for AI systems at IDC, said benchmarks can help companies better address the complexities around AI adoption, allowing them to make apples-to-apples comparisons on the many AI software and hardware tools available.”

If you’re new to MLPerf (the group started in 2018), here are its goals, which can be found online:

  • Accelerate progress in ML via fair and useful measurement
  • Serve both the commercial and research communities
  • Enable fair comparison of competing systems yet encourage innovation to improve the state-of-the-art of ML
  • Enforce replicability to ensure reliable results
  • Keep benchmarking effort affordable so all can participate

Transform 2019 Almost One Month Away

That’s right — GrayMatter’s Industrial Intelligence Conference set for July 30 – Aug. 1 at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, is about one month away. But there’s still time to sign up to join other operational technology professionals for our premiere, multi-day learning and networking event.

Here’s just some of what we have planned:

• Keynote speaker Cassandra Worthy will be talking about Mastering the Chemistry of Change and how you can motivate your team to embrace digital transformation and empower its members to ensure implementation is a success;

John Baier, senior manager of IS operations at Smucker’s, will give a keynote discussion and Q-and-A session about Smucker’s success in implementing a project to gather data from its production facilities and turn that data into actionable data visualizations that company leaders and floor shop operators can use to make better, more informed decisions;

• Our Becoming Bold Executive Panel: Skills Leaders Need for the Future will feature Jeff Woodard, VP of Operational Excellence,
T. Marzetti; Amy Sausen, IT Global Director, R&D, and Global Manufacturing, Kimberly-Clark; and Mike Matlock, a former DOW executive & operations leader. These experienced digital leaders will talk about risk-taking, experimentation and their bold ideas to drive digitization.

Sign up to attend the conference today — groups of three that sign up together receive a 30-percent discount.

Update: Ransomware Attack Forced Norsk Hydro to Use Pen & Paper

TechHub wrote about Norsk Hydro in late March as the Norwegian aluminum manufacturer struggled to rebound from a ransomware attack that affected dozens of sites and thousands of employees.

After more than a month, Norsk Hydro was still recovering, according to BBC cybersecurity reporter Joe Tidy, who took a tour of a company facility and found that employees were forced to adopt some decidedly low-tech coping mechanisms — like pen and paper.

A screen capture from a BBC report on Norsk Hydro’s ransomeware attack.

Tidy reported that Norsk Hydro relied on reams of paper work to track orders and turned to long-retired employees who had experience with paper record-keeping.

Hydro decided not to pay the cybercriminals’ ransom and instead worked to rebuild its systems.

“I think in general it’s a very bad idea to pay. It fuels an industry. It’s probably financing other sorts of crimes.”

Joe De Vliegher of Norsk Hydro via BBC

There’s a debate going on within the cybersecurity community about whether or not to pay a ransom.

Some, like the City of Baltimore and Norsk, have decided that they would rather take on the arduous task of rebuilding their systems. Others, like Riviera Beach, Fla., decide it’s best to pay.

Riviera Beach’s city council voted recently to pay a ransom of $600,000 in Bitcoin to unlock its systems after a three-week lockout. The ransomware spread after an employee clicked a malicious email link.

GrayMatter Cybersecurity Lead Scott Christensen was interviewed on GrayMatter’s emPOWERUP Podcast about why cities and companies are vulnerable to ransomware attacks and what organizations can do to mitigate the risk of an attack.

Listen here.

The full BBC report on Norsk Hydro:

Coming Up: 2019 GE Digital User Conference Set for Austin

Late September is one of the best times of the year to visit Austin.

Daytime temperatures tend to be lower; the humidity subsides, a bit; and, this year, GE Digital is bringing its user conference to the Texas town nicknamed “Silicon Hills.”

“Over two days, the GE Digital User Conference will bring together a diverse group of users, industry professionals, and subject matter experts to educate, learn, inspire, and network.”

The conference will feature “keynotes, breakout sessions, networking activities, and hands-on demos.” Topics will include how industrial companies can digitize production, improve productivity, optimize maintenance and reliability, and enable operational intelligence.

Stay tuned for more details about the agenda, speakers and events as we get closer to the conference.

The early-bird rate this year is $500 per person (available until Aug. 31). Regular pricing is $750 per person Sept. 1-22.

Register here.

Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.