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3D News

In our opinion, there are far too few people out there taking 3D images and one major reason is the perceived difficulty barrier—taking two images and combining them for a stereo effect with special software or using custom twin digital SLR camera rigs is simply too complex and/or expensive for most of us mere mortals. Enter the 3D-capable point-and-shoot, the latest of which is Panasonic’s upcoming Lumix DMC-3D1. Similar to Fujifilm...

Recent Blog Entries

If you’re willing to learn fast, here’s your chance to see your code run fast. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has organized a series of five hackathons to help people learn how to accelerate their projects with GPUs.

The event’s organizers are looking for current or prospective user groups of big hybrid CPU-GPU systems. Teams of three or more developers with an application that could benefit from GPU accelerators, or one running on accelerators that needs optimization, are encouraged to participate.

If that describes you, the five-day events will help you take advantage of the latest generation of GPU-accelerated supercomputers, which speed up a wide range of applications.

You won’t need any advanced GPU knowledge to join. Just come with science codes you want to have accelerated on GPUs. Prior to the hackathons, participants can get a head start with online training in OpenACC, a standard that simplifies parallel programming on heterogeneous CPU-GPU systems.

Mentors will help guide teams on how to start with GPUs — it can be as easy as using libraries. Or start with OpenACC directives designed to simplify GPU work for scientists and researchers, or CUDA for more flexibility and control.

The hackathons will take place between March and October at the Juelich Supercomputing Center in Germany; the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York; the Swiss National Supercomputing Center; the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia; and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee.


First Hackathon Kicks Off in March

The first hackathon is scheduled for the beginning of March at the Juelich Supercomputing Center (Forschungszentrum Jülich). The event’s organizers originally planned for eight teams, but were able to accommodate 10 of the 14 teams that applied.

In total about 60 people are expected to join for one week of hacking. “We want to accept all teams that apply,” said Fernanda Foertter, creator of the hackathon series. “But we are limited by mentors and space, so we do the best we can. This high demand is what led us to increase the number of offerings.”

“The GPU hackathon is a unique opportunity for the domain scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich to start fully exploiting the performance of GPUs for their science,” said Dirk Pleiter, a professor of theoretical physics at Regensburg University and one of the organizers of the event.

For more information, and to submit your proposal, visit the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s website.

And to get a head start on programming for GPUs, visit our “3 Steps to More Science” video tutorial to start on GPUs with OpenACC and libraries.

The post Hackathons to Train New Generation on GPU Accelerated Computing appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

If a tree falls in Peru’s rainforest, Greg Asner can tell you what kind it was.

Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University, uses artificial intelligence and a powerful spectral imaging method to map the rainforest in unprecedented detail. By identifying each tree species by its chemical composition, he has shown the rainforest is more diverse than anyone thought.

Asner’s map takes the guesswork out of protecting one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and pinpointing new areas for conservation.

“It’s really advancing our ability to save forests and curb climate change,” he said.

Asner captures images of the rainforest using from the Carnegie Airborne Laboratory, a twin-propeller plane turned into a research lab. Threats to Peru’s Forests

Peru’s forests cover 300,000 square miles, stretching from the hot Amazon lowlands to the snow-capped Andes mountains. Oil exploration, logging, ranching, illegal gold mining and, increasingly, palm oil plantations threaten this environment. In one area of the Amazon, deforestation has increased 500 percent since 2010.

To understand and protect an area this vast, Asner and his team gather data from several miles above the forest in a twin-propeller plane, the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, rigged up with more than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of high-tech sensors and a bank of computers.

By measuring the concentration of chemicals such as carbon and nitrogen in tree foliage, the researchers identified 23 forest traits that show what strategies trees use to survive. Some species grow to survive, while others protect themselves with defensive chemicals.

10X More Rainforest Biodiversity

The team narrowed the 23 traits into seven that are key to identifying different communities of tree species. With that data and GPU-accelerated deep learning, they generated maps that group species with similar survival strategies — mapping 36 forest types. The Peruvian government and most researchers previously believed there were only three.

Researchers trained their algorithms using the CUDA parallel computing platform, NVIDIA Tesla K80 GPU accelerators and cuDNN. They describe their findings in a recent paper in Science.

Peru’s 36 forest types, each mapped in a different psychedelic color. Maps Go Psychedelic

The team’s 3D map of these communities looks tie-dyed, with psychedelic colors of hot pink, fluorescent green and 34 other hues. To determine areas most in need of protection, researchers overlaid their map with the Peruvian government’s maps of deforestation and protected areas.

“Conservation decisions today are based on available knowledge of where different types of species are,” Asner said.

Officials place national parks in regions where they think the park can do the most to prevent land from being developed. With more knowledge, Peru and local governments could position parks where they will protect the most species per acre.

“Governments are trying to deal with huge biodiversity crises using satellite data,” Asner said. “If you look at Google Earth or other satellite pictures, the forest just looks green. It doesn’t tell you much about what’s in the forest.”

Going Global

Asner and his team have mapped forests in California, Hawaii, Borneo and Ecuador. But they just have one plane. He’s wants to put his technology into orbit and produce a fresh map of global biodiversity every month.

Development will continue, he said, but at least his maps can help governments avoid the biggest environmental losses.

“The world is changing so fast, people know we’ve got to put in some protections of the forest or it will be wiped out,” he said.

All images in this story are courtesy of Greg Asner, Carnegie Institution for Science.

To learn more about how AI computing is changing industries, subscribe to NVIDIA’s AI Podcast on iTunes http://nvda.ws/2hQ4Leb or Google Play Music http://nvda.ws/2hQaIrh.

The post Tree’s Company: AI Maps Biological Riches of the Rainforest appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.