GISCafe Voice Industry Predictions for 2022 – Part 1

It is not surprising that the same GIS industry concerns arise that we had in 2021, follow us into 2022. Technology is morphing to keep pace with the new challenges put forth in the world, and what has been in development for many years is being put to the test.

We have not arrested Covid, rather we are living in a time of more virulent disease, if not as potent as our first go round. What is sustainable? How can technology assist? How deeply are our industries affected by the ever-changing landscape of health, climate, geography and work?

Looking forward to 2022 brings with it a necessary looking backward at what geospatial organizations and providers have had to address in 2021. Every other week throughout the next two months, GISCafe Voice will post industry predictions from professional geospatial organizations, looking at what vectors are influencing the industry now and how they might move us forward into the future.

Not only are we looking at the industry predictions for this year, but must keep in mind those predictions cited for 2021 and how those may have been realized or not.

These terms have been with us for at least a year now – “future-proofing,” and “resiliency.” Processes and technologies developed before Covid have become ever more useful since its inception, and yet, how are these being implemented?

So while we have had artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, digital twins, new versions of tools and software, how has any of it changed anything? In a sense, we are really asking people to invest in a future they can’t envision yet, and “change” as we know it may take can take a lot longer than they are willing to wait.

The primary objective of many firms during the last couple of years has been to develop resiliency or “future-proofing.” Firms have been taking a closer look at what’s out there and really want to know how to apply some of the newer technologies to the changing problems.

CEO Jensen Huang presented the keynote at the recent GTC21 NVIDIA Conference, November 8-11, sharing with the audience the importance of accelerated computing and much more. As the GIS industry relies more heavily on AI technology, the rapid advancements made by NVIDIA are having more impact on the industry. NVIDIA also showcased their technology at CES this past week.

One of the most profound announcements was the announcement that NVIDIA are building a digital twin of the earth and ultra-high-resolution climate modeling.

“Accelerated computing starts with NVIDIA CUDA general-purpose programmable GPUs,” Huang said. “The magic of accelerated computing comes from the combination of CUDA, the acceleration libraries of algorithms that speed-up applications, and the distributed computing systems and software that scale processing across an entire data center. We have been advancing CUDA and the ecosystem for 15 years and counting.”

What this means is NVIDIA optimizes across the “full-stack”, iterating between GPU, acceleration libraries, systems, applications, continuously, all the while expanding the reach of their platform by adding new application domains that they accelerate.

Robots, AV fleets, warehouses, factories, industrial plants, and whole cities will be created, trained, and operated in Omniverse digital twins.

Huuang said that the past seven years are on track to be the seven warmest on record. The emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of average warming since the period 1850-1900.

“What we’re experiencing is very different from the global average,” he said. “We experience extreme weather — historic droughts, unprecedented heatwaves, intense hurricanes, violent storms and catastrophic floods. Climate disasters are the new norm.

We need to confront climate change now. Yet, we won’t feel the impact of our efforts for decades. It’s hard to mobilize action for something so far in the future. But we must know our future today — see it and feel it — so we can act with urgency.

To make our future a reality today, simulation is the answer.

To develop the best strategies for mitigation and adaptation, we need climate models that can predict the climate in different regions of the globe over decades.

Unlike predicting the weather, which primarily models atmospheric physics, climate models are multidecade simulations that model the physics, chemistry and biology of the atmosphere, waters, ice, land and human activities.

Climate simulations are configured today at 10- to 100-kilometer resolutions.”

But greater resolution is needed to model changes in the global water cycle — water movement from the ocean, sea ice, land surface and groundwater through the atmosphere and clouds, Huang noted in his blog. Changes in this system lead to intensifying storms and droughts.

Meter-scale resolution is needed to simulate clouds that reflect sunlight back to space. Scientists estimate that these resolutions will demand millions to billions of times more computing power than what’s currently available. It would take decades to achieve that through the ordinary course of computing advances, which accelerate 10x every five years.

“For the first time, we have the technology to do ultra-high-resolution climate modeling, to jump to lightspeed and predict changes in regional extreme weather decades out,” said Huang.

“We can achieve million-x speedups by combining three technologies: GPU-accelerated computing; deep learning and breakthroughs in physics-informed neural networks; and AI supercomputers, along with vast quantities of observed and model data to learn from.

And with super-resolution techniques, we may have within our grasp the billion-x leap needed to do ultra-high-resolution climate modeling. Countries, cities and towns can get early warnings to adapt and make infrastructures more resilient. And with more accurate predictions, people and nations will act with more urgency.

So, we will dedicate ourselves and our significant resources to direct NVIDIA’s scale and expertise in computational sciences, to join with the world’s climate science community.”

What NVIDIA is calling the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer dedicated to predicting climate change, their Earth-2, or E-2, system would create a digital twin of Earth in Omniverse.

“We will build a digital twin to simulate and predict climate change. The last supercomputer we built was called Cambridge 1, or C-1. The supercomputer for health research, unveiled earlier in 2021 in the U.K. and used in some leading healthcare companies. This new supercomputer will be E-2,” said Huang. “Earth Two – the digital twin of Earth, running Modulus-created AI physics, at Million-X speeds, in Omniverse.

All the technologies we’ve invented up to this moment are needed to make Earth-2 possible. I can’t imagine a greater or more important use.”

 

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GISCafe Voice Industry Predictions for 2022 – Part 1