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Artificial Intelligence is no longer an abstract concept, it already fuels our everyday life with communication tools (e.g Google 'Smart Compose' feature, Siri, etc). Tomorrow, AI will play a greater and perhaps a more important societal role, predicting and assessing our health risks, providing customer support, easing trafic congestion. Cars will be packed with AI features, including speech and gesture recognition, eye tracking, and so on. Some of these applications will require unprecedent responsiveness (e.g. braking systems). In such a context, the Cloud only will not do. AI will also need to be supported locally, meaning at the Edge. Algorithms will need to be processed locally, directly on the hardware device.
With the General Data Protection Regulation in mind, European Commission for Internal Market set the challenge: 80% of data will need to be processed directly within the hardware over the next five years. Currently, only 20% are being supported locally. CEA-Leti's experts mission will consist of combining high performance computing capacity with low energy consumption in ultra-miniaturized systems, at low cost. Systems supporting AI at the edge will need to be able to perform thousands of billions of operations per second, consuming a single Watt or even less.
Because connection to the Cloud or any kind of networks won't be required anymore, systems will be fully independent, able to process data and take decisions by themselves. Systems will be able to operate independently, translating into increased cybersecurity. The absence of back and forth between the object and a distance platform will help keeping citizen's data safe and private. Beyond privacy, Edge AI addresses various current technical challenges, by offering:
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.