About Craig Baty

Craig Baty is the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand. Craig has more than 30 years of international ICT experience and is a well known technology industry adviser, having been a senior executive in the ICT advisory arms of Gartner Asia/Pacific and Japan and other research and advisory firms including Dataquest and Frost & Sullivan for 14 years prior to Fujitsu. Craig is an active contributor to Fujitsu’s Global CTO and Marketing Communities, which together drive thought leadership and the development of innovative and leading edge solutions for customers across the globe. These offerings include Fujitsu’s Australian based Trusted Cloud, ICT sustainability, end user computing, data centres, managed services, and a comprehensive range of consulting and integration services. Craig holds an MBA in International Business and Marketing (SGSM), is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and has commenced an ‘IT in Japan’ focused Doctor of Business Administration. He is also an active member of the Australian Information Industry Association NSW Committee, regular chair and speaker at the AIIA Marketing Forum, member of the Cloud Taskforce and Digital Economy Council(which Fujitsu Chairs), and part of NICTA’s newly formed E-Gov Cluster steering committee.

Ion Drives, Asteroid Mining and Artificial Intelligence – Science Fiction or Reality?

Sometimes we don’t realise how far we have really come in terms of technology. For example last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first ever text message to a mobile phone (incidentally the message was “Merry Christmas”). Now we take text messages for granted in our personal and business lives, and text messaging as a technology is often seen as a technology nearing the end of its useful life. We’ve also seen the emergence of Twitter in a relatively short period to the point that it is now playing a role in crime fighting, and also being used extensively by public figures including The Pope!

A hundred years ago the mobile phone, let alone text messaging, would not have been dreamed of –  and now it is very much a part of our everyday life. It is interesting to speculate about what what we dream today becoming everyday life tomorrow. Science fiction writers do it all the time!

We live in a truly amazing time!

Much of what used to be thought of as science fiction has actually happened – but a lot of it is still to take place. In the past, the ideas and inspiration about what the future would look like came mostly from science fiction writers like Jules Verne, HG Wells, Mary Shelley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, George Orwell, E.E.’Doc’ Smith, Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein to name a few. They predicted or envisaged the following advances many decades or even a century before technology was capable of producing them:

  • Space Travel
  • Satellites
  • The Internet
  • Fax Machines
  • Nano Technology
  • Ubiquitous Video Communication
  • Mass Surveillance Systems
  • Supercomputers
  • Subsea Habitats and Exploration
  • Stealth Technology
  • Personal Area Networks
  • Cloud Computing

However, many predictions such as robots and artificial intelligence still have some way to go before they can match Asimov’s portrayal of robots or come anywhere even needing the 3 Laws of Robotics*, but we have recently seen advances that will potentially allow an AI to sit an entrance exam to Tokyo University. Continue reading

A perspective on technology trends for 2013

At Fujitsu, we believe passionately that innovation in technology is our route to secure a better future. We have an ambitious vision; we call it Human Centric Intelligent Society. Human Centric Intelligent Society is about building a better, more sustainable society through the power of ICT. It means putting people at the heart of the world, and using technology to deliver innovation into everything we do. It means powering business and society with information and bringing together the physical and digital to deliver greater benefit across society. And it means orchestrating technology from end to end to deliver greater understanding and control of the world around us.

In line with this vision we are pleased to announce our new Technology Perspectives website. Technology Perspectives is a collection of articles that represent the views and experience of key people from Fujitsu around the world including myself. We look at the many different ways in which technology is shaping our world in 2013 across a broad range of topics. We investigate the continually evolving relationship between the business world and technology, and the opportunities that will arise.

There is a wealth of information in this resource and I encourage you to read it and to use it as a reference for strategy and planning. We will spend some time on this blog during the year exploring some of the topics in more detail.

I would be very interested in hearing your feedback on this resource – please send any feedback to me via the comment form below.

Can a computer pass a University Entrance Exam?

Fujitsu CTO Craig Baty talks about Fujitsu’s quest to build an advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) Undergraduate

Fujitsu Laboratories and Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) will take part in an artificial brain project, known as “Can a Robot Pass the University of Tokyo (Todai) Entrance Exam?”, otherwise known as “Todai Robot.” Based on formula manipulation and computer algebra technology, Fujitsu Laboratories will participate as the math team for the project.

Led by NII professor Noriko Arai, Todai Robot was started in 2011. The goal is to enable an artificial brain to score high marks in the Japanese National Center for University Entrance Examinations by 2016, and to cross the admission threshold for Todai by 2021.
For many years, Fujitsu Laboratories has been researching formula manipulation and computer algebra for solving mathematical problems related to mathematical analysis and optimisation technologies. Fujitsu’s involvement in the Todai Robot math team is a way to develop technologies required for human-centric ICT. Technologies developed under this project should enable anyone to easily use sophisticated mathematical analysis tools, leading to solutions for a wide range of real-world problems, and the automation of mathematical analysis and optimization.

The project aims to increase the accuracy of elemental AI technologies developed to date, and integrate them to create future value in information technology, while also deepening our comprehensive understanding of human thought.

For a computer to solve math entrance-exam problems (1), it must first convert the problem text (expressed in natural language and formulas easily understood by humans), into a program executeable form. The next step is for a program known as a “solver” to solve the problem. This requires three processes as shown in the diagram below.

Procedure for solving the math problem

Getting a computer to understand text that was intended for humans is not an easy task. Using natural-language processing to draw out a semantic representation of the problem text is not simply a matter of analyzing the words. It also involves skillfully integrating mathematical terminology and a high-school level understanding of math. Beyond that, it needs to decide the best way for the computer to solve the problem. Currently only approximately 50–60% of Level 2 entrance-exam problems can be solved, even using computer algebra technology, so the challenge of the project is to improve the algorithm.

 Notes:

  1. Math Problems. Math entrance-exam problems are high-school math problems been contributed by the Benesse Corporation, Tokyo Shoseki Co., Ltd., and JC Educational Institute, Inc
  2. The initiatives of the math team are scheduled to be detailed in “Uniting Natural Language Processing and Computer Algebra to Solve Mathematics Problems” (Akiko Aizawa, Takuya Matsuzaki, Hirokazu Anai), a paper in a special issue on the Todai Robot project in vol. 27, no. 5 of the Journal of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.

See Australia’s fastest supercomputer being built

Earlier this year we announced that the Australian National University (ANU) has selected Fujitsu to supply and install a High Performance Computer (HPC) for the National Computing Infrastructure (NCI) project.

The Fujitsu Primergy cluster high-performance supercomputer was constructed at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) in late 2012. This machine debuted at number 24 on the World Top 500 Supercomputer ranking. This means it is ranked as the 24th most powerful computer in the World, and also the fastest computer in Australia. The NCI computer uses technology developed for Japan’s ‘K’ Computer, which was until recently the world’s fastest computer.

Australia's fastest computer being builtIf you are interested in seeing Australia’s fastest supercomputer being built, click here to see our time-lapse video of the computer coming together from an empty data centre through to a fully functioning supercomputer. The video compresses almost three months of installation activity into approximately one minute of video.

To express the power and scope of this machine in terms we all understand, here are a few key statistics:

  • It has 57,000 cores, which is the equivalent of approximately 15,000 home PC’s
  • 160 terabytes of RAM = approximately 40,000 home PC’s
  • 10 petabytes of hard disc = 10,000 PC hard drives
  • 1,200 teraflops of peak computational performance = 5 months worth of calculations by 1 billion people armed with calculators, in just 1 second.
  • 9 terabyes of network = 9 million home internet bandwidth connections

At the NCI, we can be assured that this computer will be put to good use in support of a wide range of research initiatives across the region. NCI’s advanced computing infrastructure is funded through programs of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, while its operations are sustained through the substantial co-investment by a number of partner organisations including ANU, CSIRO, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, a number of Australia’s research-intensive universities, and the Australian Research Council.

For ICT companies such as Fujitsu, development of supercomputing technology can be likened to the development of Formula One cars by the large car companies. Concepts proven in this field can be adapted to more mainstream applications that benefit the general public. For Fujitsu the K-computer in Tokyo, which is a joint project between RIKEN and Fujitsu, has laid the foundations for much of Fujitsu’s future commercial endeavours.

Mr Yamada, Head of Fujitsu’s Supercomputing business describes the advancements well when he describes the processing power of the K-Computer in this video. Until recently the K Computer was the world’s fastest computer.

Imagine a football stadium filled with 50,000 people. They all have a calculator in their hand and start a calculation together doing one operation per second. What would take this group 6,340 years would take the K Computer only one second.

While it is easy to be consumed by discussions about processing power it is far more interesting to look at what this means in terms of its impact on the world. In medical science for example, it has for a long time been possible to create a simulation of the human heart for research purposes. Today’s supercomputing power enables us to take this one step further – rather than modelling a generic heart we can now quickly process a person’s vital signs and create a model of the individual heart. This means that we can now model the effects of an operation on the individual’s heart to simulate its reactions to an operation before we operate! Essentially the gain is in being able to process, model and simulate in a matter of days, not months or years – making the technology available on a wider scale. Similar examples can be found in a number of other fields including mineral exploration and predicting the effects of natual disasters such as tsunamis.

 

Human-centric ICT and real-time Insight

Craig BatyCraig Baty our Chief Technology and Innovation Officer provides an insight into some of the lesser known benefits of Big Data strategies, and how Fujitsu is making this real for everyday people in the street….

Fujitsu’s overarching vision is based around the creation of a Human Centric Intelligent Society….the linkage of the “physical world”  and the “digital world”. The physical world is where we live – an environment now saturated with mobile devices and pervasive networks. That domain is backed by a digital world that holds vast resources of information and analytical power.

These two worlds are now being synchronized and exploited to provide previously unimaginable potential by delivering data-driven insight at high speeds, some impacts of this are:

  • Computing ecosystems are bringing new solutions that can be brought to bear on entire industries or across society.
  • Many different types of technology – mobile, network, cloud, sensors, social media and consumer electronics – are aligning into connected architectures to deliver richer and deeper content.
  • Decision-making time is being reduced or eliminated. The resulting analytical responses provide an increasingly clear perspective for greater assurance in decisions.

Big Data and implications of digital awareness of real life

When people think of ‘Big Data” they often think mostly about the processing of massive amounts of information with the aim of analysing this data to unearth nuggets of useful information. However this is only part of the Big Data definition.

“As a mega-trend, its impact will be as big as that of the Internet, the PC, or virtually any breakthrough technology you could name”

Fujitsu’s view is that Big Data is generally unstructured, comes from multiple sources (often from the Cloud), is generated and analysed in real time, and should be used not only to describe a situation, but to enable predictions to be made, and then actions to be  prescribed  based on the predictions. We call this Real Time Insight and it will have huge implications for us and how we live.

As a mega-trend, its impact will be as big as that of the Internet, the PC, or virtually any breakthrough technology you could name. In the near future we might anticipate that:

  • Systems will “sense and respond” rather than merely process transactions and the question “will humans or machines make the decision?” will arise with increasing frequency.
  • Our focus will have switched from reactive to proactive processes (medical treatment, for instance, will focus on maintaining wellbeing rather than on treating illness).
  • Speed of processing and decision making will be everything, and everything will be speeding up.

Big Data in action: Managing Tokyo’s traffic
Take for example the problem of managing Tokyo’s traffic. Tokyo is a huge metropolis with a very large population. Traffic jams and transport disruption is ubiquitous. Based on the concept of applying real-time insight, Fujitsu Japan has recently launched SpatioOwl – a cloud-based intelligent traffic management system. It collects data – masses of data – from an incredibly rich variety of sources. From sensors planted in fleets of vehicles like taxis or hauliers, from roadside sensors that monitor traffic flow, even down to subtle things like the speed that windscreen wipers are moving in the rain. But it also collects data from individuals and communities, from social media and events.

The real value comes from what happens at the back end – in the digital world.  All of this data is presented into a cloud platform, making it available for many different – as-a-service – uses. Fleet and logistics management can use it to route their traffic in the most efficient way. Individuals can use it to get simple reports of traffic. Urban authorities can use it to manage traffic control – in real time. And as we move into the future, a major application will be to link drivers to supply points for electric vehicles. The potential is vast.  Researchers at Fujitsu are using the system to map unsafe areas of the road network – based on braking information. And on another system that smooths supply and demand for the city’s taxis – so that an individual need never wait for a taxi again. For a deeper insight please see the analysis in Fujitsu’s Technology Perspectives.

This is just one example of how we see the Big Data trend playing out to benefit not only corporations and governments, but individuals in the street. For more examples of how Fujitsu is working towards the creation of a Human Centric Intelligent Society, please go to www.technology-perspectives.com and download a free copy of Technology Perspectives, developed by Fujitsu’s Global CTO Community.

 

Traditional values feature highly in CIO’s cloud decision making

In our first blog post for the Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand Blog, Craig Baty – our Chief Technology and Innovation Officer provides an insight into what CIOs look for in selecting a Cloud provider.

It is timely that I was given the opportunity to write this post given that Fujitsu has recently announced a Cloud contract with one of Australia’s largest port operators – Asciano Ltd.  Asciano is in the process of transforming its ICT infrastructure and to them the Cloud with the assistance of Fujitsu – is a way to change  the way the company works, its service delivery and the way it interfaces with its customers.

So what decisions do companies such as Asciano and others face when embarking on a Cloud journey? The latest edition of Insights Quarterly, a joint research initiative commissioned by Fujitsu and Microsoft  conducted by independent firm Connection Research, provides a deep dive into the minds of almost 200 Australian CIOs.

From the research there is no doubt that CIOs view Cloud Computing as the future of ICT. As my peer at Microsoft, Greg Stone (Microsoft CTO) says “cloud computing has arrived, and will continue to grow in functionality and popularity. The idea of an ‘information utility’, where generic computing power is available on demand like water or electricity, is a much closer reality.”

Cloud has reached a certain level of maturity in the enterprise, to a point where almost every CIO is more than familiar with the traditional benefits of cloud. The research shows that lower operational costs, scalability, lower capital expenditure on ICT, and flexibility and elasticity were the qualities that CIOs rated highly as the ‘Advantages of Cloud Computing’.

 

Interestingly, when CIOs were asked about how they select a cloud platform, the above factors did not rate as highly as the support from the supplier, security of data, privacy and the reputation of the supplier. Continue reading