AI and Blockchain at Edge – Highlights from the IEEE event at Bangalore


This report prepared by Krishna Kumar, IEEE Bangalore Section Industry Relations and Standards leader on behalf of the Organizing Committee

This is the first of a kind conference organized at India connecting three different hot technologies (artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and edge) together and present a unified view of the use cases, trends and work happening in these domains. This event was organized by the IEEE Bangalore section and IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) Blockchain Group together at Philips Innovation Center, Bangalore on 10 May 2019. The objective of the event was to connect technologists together and share the knowledge to accelerate the adoption of these technologies. More than 150 professionals participated in this one full day event.

The event started with the welcome message from Prashant Misra, the IEEE Bangalore Section Industry Chair explaining the importance of IEEE and its activities. The Keynote was delivered by Philips India CEO, Kalavathy GV, and she emphasized the medical industry need for AI which is making a revolution in this field. Philips Research Lab Fellow Vijayananda, go deep into “Trusted AI models in Healthcare.” His talk covered inflection points in healthcare including diagnose, payment models, IoT devices, Integrated 24/7 Healthcare. He also touched upon the Philips positioning of Adaptive Intelligence (AI adapted for the situation) for Health Suite @Edge, challenges of large-scale data sets in Clinical Data Lake and federated learnings.

IBM India Blockchain Leader, Vinayaka Pandit, presented “Emerging Confluence of Blockchain and AI”. His talk covered the evolution of blockchain, AI, and the various use cases of these technologies. He discussed in detail the privacy barrier in business networks, crypto, trusted multi-party computing on encrypted data, zero-knowledge privacy standards, network level interoperation, secure AI, provenance across the trusted AI supply chain with blockchain and business process automation.

There were a few technical sessions namely “Blockchain In and Out” by Praful CS, CTO KoinEarth, who covers the basics of blockchain; AI inference acceleration at the edge with Intel Inside by Lakshmi Narasimhan, Engineering Manager, Intel, discussed Intel stacks for running AI at Edge including mainstream processors and OPENVino Tool Kit to accelerate deep learning inference from device to cloud; “Blockchain IoT use case” by Krishna Prasad, distinguished engineer HPE, covered data monetization for centralized or decentralized data market place with hybrid cloud infrastructure; “Deep Dive Edge” with large data set and analytics by Tijo Thomas, Principal consultant customer solutions, Cloudera, discussed large data set at edge covers data off the chain, data ingestion to backend, and few reference architectures. In the demo part, the speaker Tijo went deep in to show Apache MiNiFi, a pipeline data ingestion stack for edge, and how it is used in a blockchain enabled supply chain.

After the lunch break, more technical in-depth sessions began like “Blockchain case study with edge” by Harihara Natarajan, Senior technologist, Wipro Ltd, presented unique use cases for how blockchain is used in telecom; “Deep learning on Edge” by Ashish Sardana, Solutions architect, Nvidia, covered current challenges and some of the NVidia stacks like TensorRRT, Integration with TensorFlow, TensorFusion, Jetson Xavier machine processors, Deepstream SDK, and Jetson Nano Developer Kit; “Hands on Blockchain End to End” by Murughan, principal technologist, Pingala Software, described various blockchain models and how to build them in different cloud providers like in Azure, Amazon Web Services, and IBM.

Subsequent panel discussion on “Challenges & Opportunities in AI, Blockchain & Edge,” moderated by Dr. Sunil Vuppala of Philips Research Center India. The panel members were Nagaraju Bussa, Director, Philips Research, Sanil Kumar, Chief Architect, Huawei India, Munir Mohammed, IEEE Standards expert India and Raghavendra Deshmukh, Director, SAP Business Network. The panel discussed various blockchain and AI challenges in India context and discussed emerging trends, solutions, and use cases.

The day closed with the tea and networking session. The participants were very much engaged with various speakers and getting more and more in-depth discussions in their domain. Also from the IEEE SA perspective, we had generated quite a lot of interest in the emerging topics of AI, blockchain, and edge and some volunteers have come forward to explore new standards ideas to pursue in the future.

In summary, there are use cases where AI and blockchain need to be executed at the edge. Edge makes it highly responsive, greater security, Greater customer experience and sometimes low cost. Edge is not proof of concept but real and issues like latency, security, bandwidth, Computing power, and miniature models are further explored by researchers. As the world becomes decentralized, more and more devices joining the hybrid cloud, it is absolutely necessary that the technologies be deployed to the best location viz. local, edge or cloud.

The conference web site shown below gives a glimpse of the event. This event was the continuation of a similar event in the last year named “Blockchain – Deep down.” Next year the organizing committee plans to come with a bigger audience and even better agenda!!!

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