“Top ten technology trends of Damo academy 2020″ is released today, which is the second time that Alibaba Damo academy forecasts the annual technology trend after 2019. Dharma Institute predicts that a number of technology fields, including AI, chips, cloud computing, blockchain and quantum computing, will make disruptive breakthroughs in 2020.
Last year, Dharma Institute released the top ten technology trend forecasts for the first time, proposing such trends as the acceleration of blockchain business, the rise of AI chips, the birth of smart city, and 5g’s birth of new application scenarios These predictions have come true one by one.
Taking the blockchain as an example, last year, Dharma Institute proposed that the commercial application of blockchain will be accelerated, which has been verified in reality. In 2019, blockchain technology will become a national strategy, and will be gradually implemented in digital finance, digital government, intelligent manufacturing and other fields. Internet giants will also enter the market one after another to explore the real value of blockchain.
From the perspective of Alibaba system alone, ant blockchain has been successfully implemented in nearly 50 scenarios, and has been fully applied in commodity traceability, original protection, digital identity authentication, supply chain finance and other fields during tmall double 11 in 2019.
Dharma Institute believes that in 2020, the threshold for enterprises to apply blockchain technology will be further reduced, and hardware chips specially designed for end-to-end, cloud, and blockchain to solidify core algorithms will also emerge as the times require, and the blockchain applications of rihuo tens of millions will enter the public.
Professor Yang Dong, director of big data blockchain and regulatory science and Technology Laboratory of Renmin University of China, commented that among all the technologies, the key advantage of blockchain is that it can transform and upgrade the old production relations and make it more suitable for the new situation in the digital economy environment compared with other technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data.
In the chip field, which has promoted all previous scientific and technological waves, Damo Institute believes that major breakthroughs in the chip field are likely to be achieved in three aspects: architecture, basic materials and design methods, breaking the bottleneck of traditional chip performance growth.
In terms of architecture, the integrated architecture of computing and storage is expected to meet the increasingly complex computing needs and break through the bottleneck of computing power and power consumption of chips; in terms of basic materials, the semiconductor materials represented by silicon tend to the performance limit, and the sustainable development of the semiconductor industry needs to rely on new materials such as topological insulators and two-dimensional superconducting materials; the chip design method also needs to be upgraded, based on the core (chiplet) modular design method can replace the traditional method, making chip design as fast as building blocks.
Behind the breakthrough of chip technology is “computing power explosion”, and artificial intelligence is undoubtedly the most important demand side and technology tractor of computing power in the future. Although AI is still in the primary stage of development, Dharma Institute believes that in the near future, AI is expected to acquire autonomous consciousness, reasoning ability and emotional perception ability, and realize the evolution from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence.
The cognitive evolution of AI makes the “swarm intelligence” between machines possible. Da Mo Institute predicts that in the future AI will not only understand “man-machine cooperation”, but also “machine machine cooperation”. When machines, like human beings, cooperate and compete with each other to complete the target tasks, it is not difficult to imagine such scenes as large-scale intelligent traffic light scheduling, warehouse Robot Cooperative sorting of goods, autonomous perception of global road conditions by unmanned vehicles, etc.
And behind all these innovations, cloud will become the center of all it technology innovation. Dharma Institute pointed out that no matter chip, AI or blockchain, all technological innovation will be centered on the cloud platform, and chips customized for the cloud, AI deeply integrated with the cloud, and blockchain applications on the cloud will emerge in an endless stream.
Trend 1: AI evolves from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence
[trend summary] artificial intelligence has reached or surpassed the human level in the fields of “listening, speaking, and seeing”, but it is still in its infancy in the field of cognitive intelligence which needs external knowledge, logical reasoning, or domain transfer. Cognitive intelligence will draw inspiration from cognitive psychology, brain science and the history of human society, and combine cross domain knowledge mapping, causal reasoning, continuous learning and other technologies to establish an effective mechanism for stable acquisition and expression of knowledge, so that knowledge can be understood and used by machines, and achieve a key breakthrough from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence.
Trend 2: the integration of computing and storage breaks through the bottleneck of AI computing power
[trend summary] the separation of storage and computing in von Neumann architecture is no longer suitable for data-driven AI applications. The bottleneck of computing power and power consumption caused by frequent data transportation has become a limiting factor for the exploration of more advanced algorithms. The in memory computing architecture, which is similar to the brain neural structure, integrates the data storage unit and the computing unit. It can significantly reduce the data handling and greatly improve the computing parallelism and energy efficiency. The hardware architecture innovation of computing and storage integration will break through the bottleneck of AI computing power.
Trend 3: super convergence of industrial Internet
[trend summary] the rapid development of 5g, IOT equipment, cloud computing and edge computing will promote the super integration of industrial Internet and realize the intelligent integration of industrial control system, communication system and information system. Manufacturing enterprises will realize equipment automation, transportation automation and scheduling automation, and then realize flexible manufacturing. At the same time, the upstream and downstream production lines of the factory can adjust and cooperate in real time. This will greatly improve the production efficiency of the factory and the profitability of the enterprise. For industries with an output value of billions or even hundreds of trillions, if the efficiency is increased by 5% – 10%, trillions of RMB will be generated.
Trend 4: large scale cooperation between machines becomes possible
[trend summary] traditional single agent intelligence can not meet the real-time perception and decision-making of large-scale intelligent devices. The development of collaborative sensing technology and 5g communication technology in the Internet of things will realize the cooperation among multiple agents, that is, machines cooperate and compete with each other to complete the target tasks. The swarm intelligence brought by multi-agent cooperation will further enlarge the value of intelligent system: large scale intelligent traffic light scheduling will realize dynamic real-time adjustment, warehouse robots cooperate to complete efficient cooperation of goods sorting, driverless vehicles can perceive the overall road conditions, and swarm UAV cooperation will effectively get through the last kilometer distribution.
Trend 5: modularization reduces the threshold of chip design
[trend summary] traditional chip design patterns can’t efficiently meet the needs of fast iteration, customization and fragmentation. Risc-v as the representative of the open instruction set and its corresponding open source SOC chip design, high-level Abstract hardware description language and IP based templated chip design method, promote the rapid development of chip agile design method and open source chip ecology. In addition, the modular design method based on chiplet encapsulates the “chip modules” with different functions in an advanced packaging way, which can quickly customize a chip that meets the application requirements and further speed up the delivery of the chip.
Trend 6: large scale production level blockchain application will enter the public
[trend summary] blockchain baas (blockchain ASA service) service will further lower the threshold for enterprises to apply blockchain technology. Hardware chips specially designed for blockchain end, cloud and chain to solidify core algorithms will also emerge at the historic moment to realize the anchoring of physical world assets and assets on the chain, further expand the boundary of value Internet and realize the interconnection of ten thousand chains. In the future, a large number of innovative blockchain application scenarios and multi-dimensional cooperation across industries and ecology will emerge, and large-scale production level blockchain applications with more than 10 million daily activities will enter the public.
Trend 7: quantum computing enters a critical period
[trend summary] in 2019, the “quantum hegemony” debate makes quantum computing become the focus of world science and technology again. The achievements of superconducting quantum computing chips have enhanced the industry’s optimistic expectations for the superconducting route and the pace of large-scale quantum computing. In 2020, the field of quantum computing will experience a stage of further increase in investment, intensified competition, accelerated industrialization and richer ecology. As the two key technical milestones, fault-tolerant quantum computing and demonstration of practical quantum advantages will be the turning point of quantum computing. In the next few years, it will be a very arduous task to really achieve any of them, and quantum computing will enter a period of technological breakthrough.
Trend 8: new materials promote semiconductor device innovation
[trend summary] under the dual pressure of slowing down Moore’s law and the explosion of computing power and storage demand, it is difficult for the classic transistors with silicon as the main body to maintain the sustainable development of the semiconductor industry, and the major semiconductor manufacturers have no clear answer to the trend of chips under 3 nm. New materials will realize new logic, storage and interconnection concepts and devices through new physical mechanisms, and promote the innovation of semiconductor industry. For example, topological insulators and two-dimensional superconductors can realize lossless electron and spin transport, which can become the basis of new high-performance logic and interconnection devices; new magnetic materials and new resistive materials can bring high-performance magnetic memories, such as sot-mram and resistive memories.
Trend 9: AI technology to protect data privacy will accelerate its implementation
[trend summary] the compliance cost of data circulation is higher and higher. Using AI technology to protect data privacy is becoming a new technology hot spot. It can ensure the data security and privacy of all parties, and at the same time, it can achieve specific computing with joint users, solve the problem of data island and low credibility of data sharing, and realize the value of data.
Trend 10: cloud becomes the center of IT technology innovation
[trend summary] with the in-depth development of cloud technology, cloud has far exceeded the scope of IT infrastructure and gradually evolved into the center of all it technology innovation. Cloud has penetrated the whole IT technology link of new chips, new databases, self driving and adaptive network, big data, AI, Internet of things, blockchain and quantum computing. At the same time, it has derived new technology modes such as server free computing, cloud native software architecture, hardware and software integrated design, intelligent automatic operation and maintenance. Cloud is redefining everything of it. Cloud in a broad sense is constantly turning new IT technologies into accessible services and the infrastructure of the whole digital economy.