Sep 21, 2020

US government approves new TikTok deal

Cloud
Cybersecurity
Harry Menear
2 min
TikTok owner ByteDance averts ban with the creation of TikTok Global. Oracle will provide secure cloud services.
TikTok owner ByteDance averts ban with the creation of TikTok Global. Oracle will provide secure cloud services...

Chinese software firm ByteDance, which owns popular social media app TikTok, has averted a ban on its US operations. The threat of being blacklisted in the US market has been hanging over the company for months, as the Trump administration has pressured TikTok to cut ties with ByteDance, due to the company's ties to the Chinese government. 

Now, a new arrangement will see ByteDance spin off TikTok into a new subsidiary, TikTok Global. The company will be responsible for all TikTok services provided to the US, where the app has more than 100mn monthly users, as well as a high portion of the app’s subscriber base in the rest of the world. 

TikTok Global will be headquartered in the US, and majority-owned by US investors, including Oracle and Walmart, which have acquired a 20% stake in the business. Four out of five members of the company board will be American, and the company is expected to pay in excess of $5bn in taxes to the US government this year. The creation of TikTok Global is also predicted to create 25,000 new jobs in the US. 

As part of the deal, Oracle will provide secure cloud services to TikTok Global’s US operations through its portfolio of Generation 2 cloud data centres. The intent of the deal is to prevent US user data from falling into the hands of the Chinese government. 

“We're pleased that today we've confirmed a proposal that resolves the Administration's security concerns and settles questions around TikTok's future in the US. Our plan is extensive and consistent with previous CFIUS resolutions, including working with Oracle, who will be our trusted cloud and technology provider responsible for fully securing our users' data,” wrote Vanessa Pappas, Interim Head of TikTok, in a statement released on Sunday.

However, some top executives in the industry remain unconvinced. 

"The interactions with the Chinese government, and the ability of the Chinese government to put pressure on the ByteDance company, is still substantial," said Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer at Facebook in an interview with NPR. 

"It won't be strange to have interaction between the two companies on a number of different issues, including algorithmic operations, so that could stretch into personal data pretty easily."

TikTok Global has said that it intends to launch an IPO within the next near and be listed on a US stock exchange. 

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Jul 7, 2021

NVIDIA launches UK’s most powerful supercomputer

Nvidia
AstraZeneca
SuperComputer
AI
2 min
NVIDIA, an American technology company, has launched the Cambridge-1 supercomputer to advance research in AI and healthcare

NVIDIA has launched the most powerful supercomputer in the UK. Named “Cambridge-1”, its purpose is to enable scientists and healthcare experts to use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and simulation to accelerate the digital biology revolution and bolster the country’s world-leading life sciences industry.

“Cambridge-1 will empower world-leading researchers in business and academia with the ability to perform their life’s work on the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, unlocking clues to disease and treatments at a scale and speed previously impossible in the U.K.,” said Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA. 

“The discoveries developed on Cambridge-1 will take shape in the UK, but the impact will be global, driving groundbreaking research that has the potential to benefit millions around the world”, Huang added. 

What projects will Cambridge-1 be used for? 

The supercomputer represents a US$100mn investment by NVIDIA and is involved in several projects. These include developing a deeper understanding of brain diseases like dementia, using AI to design new drugs, and improving the accuracy of finding disease-causing variations in human genomes.

According to a report by Frontier Economics, an economics consulting firm, Cambridge-1 has the potential to create an estimated value of around US$825mn over the next 10 years.

Cambridge-1 brings together decades of NVIDIA’s work in accelerated computing, AI, and life sciences, where NVIDIA Clara and AI frameworks are optimised to take advantage of the entire system for large-scale research. An NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD supercomputing cluster, it ranks among the world’s top 50 fastest computers and is powered by 100% renewable energy, the company claims. 

NVIDIA and AstraZeneca 

NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1 will be used for a project with the pharmaceutical company and COVID-19 vaccine developer, AstraZeneca, which will focus on the use of AI in digital pathology. In digital pathology, significant time and money are spent annotating whole slide images of tissue samples to help the search for new insights. By using unsupervised AI algorithms trained on thousands of images, it is possible to remove the process of annotating while simultaneously finding potential imaging features that correlate with drug response, NVIDIA says. 

“Training AI algorithms on whole slide images is challenging in part due to the size of the images,” said Lindsay Edwards, Vice President of Data Science and AI, Respiratory and Immunology, BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca. 

“Working with NVIDIA on Cambridge-1 enables us to scale our current work and develop new methodologies advancing the use of AI in digital pathology”, he added. 

 

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