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Building a global AI supercomputer – The 2018 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit

July 18, 2018 | By Donald Kossmann, Distinguished Scientist and Director of Redmond Lab

We live in the age of the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud. Data is collected at the edge using billions of small devices. The data is pre-processed at the edge and shipped in a filtered and aggregated form to the cloud. In the cloud, the data is analyzed and used to train models which are in turn deployed at both the edge and in the cloud to make decisions. This way, computing and AI are infused into virtually all processes of our daily life. The result is a supercomputer at global scale composed of billions of devices with micro-controllers at the edge and millions of servers in the cloud and at the edge.

The 2018 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit will bring together the world-wide leading experts from academia, Microsoft Research and Microsoft to make progress on building this global AI supercomputer. Sessions and panels will cover topics such as the new paradigm of edge computing, its emerging challenges, technologies and business impact. The summit will discuss Systems for AI that address how to deliver AI in a secure and sustainable way from end to end (edge to cloud to edge). Furthermore, the summit will discuss AI for Systems and how to make use of AI technologies to build these large-scale distributed systems. Specific topics include the future of cloud storage as well as quantum computing and its promise to solve problems that are out of the realm of today’s classical computing capabilities. There will be talks on current trends in blockchain technology and hardware-accelerated networked systems, as well as talks on breakthroughs and implications of free inference and instant training.

Azure Chief Technical Officer Mark Russinovich will talk about confidential computing and how his team seeks to ensure that customers can upload and process confidential data in the cloud with the guarantee that cloud providers cannot see their secrets. The vision is to achieve confidential computing and to build the next generation of privacy-preserving cloud computing services. Microsoft CVP David Ku will share his views on how knowledge systems are enabled by leveraging stable, scalable and secure infrastructure. For those of you unable to attend the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2018 in person, I encourage you to watch the livestream of keynotes, speakers and Research in Focus interview segments. I’m particularly excited about a panel on diversity in Systems research and a fireside chat on research and entrepreneurship.

Visit for more information and the full virtual event agenda.

I look forward to seeing you at the event in-person or virtually as we all get together to discuss how we can work together to build a secure and sustainable global AI supercomputer.



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