Project type: Bridge Project
Project type: Bridge Project
AI is currently limited by the need for massive data centres and centralized architectures, as well as the need to move this data to algorithms. To overcome this key limitation, AI will evolve from today’s highly structured, controlled, and centralized architecture to a more flexible, adaptive, and distributed network of devices. This transformation will bring algorithms to the data, made possible by algorithmic agility and autonomous data discovery, and it will drastically reduce the need for high-bandwidth connectivity, which is required to transport massive data sets, and eliminate any potential sacrifice of the data’s security and privacy. Furthermore, it will eventually allow true real-time learning at the edge.
This transformation is enabled by the merging of AI and IoT into “Artificial Intelligence of Things” (AIoT), and has created an emerging sector of Embedded AI (eAI), where all or parts of the AI processing is done on the sensor devices at the edge, rather than sent to the cloud. The major drivers for Embedded AI are, increased responsiveness and functionality, reduced data transfer, and increased resilience, security, and privacy. To deliver these benefits, development engineers need to acquire new skills in embedded development and systems design.
To enter and compete in the AI era, companies are hiring data scientists to build expertise in AI and create value from data. This is true for many companies developing embedded systems, for instance to control water, heat and air flow in large facilities, large ship engines or industrial robots, all with the aim to optimize their products and services.
However, there is a challenging gap between programming AI in the cloud using tools like Tensorflow, and programming at the edge, where resources are extremely constrained. This project will develop methods and tools to migrate AI algorithms from the cloud to a distributed network of AI enabled edge-devices. The methods will be demonstrated on several use-cases from the industrial partners.
In a traditional, centralized AI architecture, all the technology blocks would be combined in the cloud or at a single cluster (Edge computing) to enable AI. Data collected by IoT, i.e., individual edge-devices, will be sent towards the cloud. To limit the amount of data needed to be sent, data aggregation may be performed along the way to the cloud. The AI stack, the training, and the later inference, will be performed in the cloud, and results for actions will be transferred back to the relevant edge-devices. While the cloud provides complex AI algorithms which can analyse huge datasets fast and efficiently, it cannot deliver true real-time response and data security and privacy may be challenged.
When it comes to Embedded AI, where AI algorithms are moved to the edge, there is a need to transform the foundation of the AI Stack by enabling transformational advances, algorithmic agility and distributed processing will enable AI to perceive and learn in real-time by mirroring critical AI functions across multiple disparate systems, platforms, sensors, and devices operating at the edge. We propose to address these challenges in the following steps, starting with single edge-devices.
The expected outcome is an AI framework which supports autonomous discovery and processing of disparate data from a distributed collection of AI-enabled edge-devices. All three presented steps will be tested on cases from the industry partners.
Deep neural networks have changed the capabilities of machine learning reaching higher accuracy than hitherto. They are in all cases on learning from unstructured data now the de facto standard. These networks often include millions of parameters and may take months to train on dedicated hardware in terms of GPUs in the cloud. This has resulted in high demand of data scientists with AI skills and hence, an increased demand for educating such profiles. However, an increased use of IoT to collect data at the edge, have created a wish for training and executing deep neural networks at the edge rather than transferring all data to the cloud for processing. As IoT end- or edge-devices are characterized by low memory, low processing power, and low energy (powered by battery or energy harvesting), training or executing deep neural networks is considered infeasible. However, developing dedicated accelerators, novel hardware circuits and architectures, or executing smaller discretized networks may provide feasible solutions for the edge.
The academic partners DTU, KU, AU and CBS, will not only create the scientific value from the results disseminated through the four PhDs, but will also create important knowledge, experience, and real-life cases to be included in the education, and hence, create capacity building in this important merging field of embedded AI or AIoT.
The industry partners Indesmatech, Grundfos, MAN ES, and VELUX are all strong examples of companies who will benefit from mastering embedded AI, i.e., being able to select the right tools and execution platforms for implementing and deploying embedded AI in their products.
January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2024 – 3 years.
Total budget DKK 22,5 million / DIREC investment DKK 6,54 million.
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science
Copenhagen Business School
Department of Digitalization
MAN Energy Solutions