At the 2020 Global Storage Professors Forum, Huawei announced the OlympusMons Award 2021 and invited global scientists to tackle the two most difficult problems in data storage. Over one hundred storage experts from Huawei, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and top universities and research institutes home and abroad witnessed the announcement.
Innovative Data Storage Paves the Way to a Digital Future
William Xu, member of Huawei’s Board of Directors and director of Huawei’s Institute of Strategic Research, opened the forum with a speech titled “Mounting the Olympus Mons and Tackling Data Challenges.” He said, “Innovation is in Huawei’s blood. We strive to excel, to lead, to innovate, and to put in life scientists’ research outcomes. By working to overcome prominent challenges and commercialize scientific achievements, Huawei and researchers learn from each other and grow together.” At the Annual Conference on Applied Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Science held in Changsha in this August, Huawei announced the “Ten Mathematics Challenges in the Post-Shannon Era”, two of which pertain to data storage: “Efficient Erasure Coding” and “Approximate Computing of Ultra-Large-Scale Data.”
Researches on the next-generation storage are directed towards systematic innovation of media, network, architecture, and management. To this end, Huawei has established five labs: the Data Fabric Innovation Lab, Intelligent Storage Innovation Lab, Memory Storage Innovation Lab, Data Reduction Innovation Lab, and Video Storage Innovation Lab. The labs will fully unleash the potential of over 4,000 storage scientists in Huawei, enabling them to leverage the latest technologies to push storage efficiency to new limits. Compared to last year’s OlympusMons Award, which focused on self-driven full-lifecycle data governance and data storage with ultimate per-bit effectiveness, Huawei attaches greater importance to the lasting ties between the industry, universities, and research institutes this year, hoping to promote the sustained development of the digital economy through the establishment of a global top-level technology community.
“The giant system of information consists of three parts: compute, network, and storage. Compute and storage have had enough attention in the past two decades, and good days have finally come for storage today, when storage is regarded the center of the system. As the foundation for computing, storage is essential to our national plan for new infrastructure.” said Zheng Weimin, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor of computer science at Tsinghua University, in his speech themed “TStor Storage System and MadFS File System.”
What is required from storage systems then? Zheng and his team answered this question with the TStor and MadFS systems. While TStor features solid reliability, self-maintainability and uses a large-scale erasure coding algorithm, MadFS is a high-performing cache file system. Zheng further pointed out: “Storage innovation should not only focus on hardware systems, but also continuous software breakthroughs.”
In introducing the technologies and methods used to protect the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, Su Bomin, Vice Director of Dunhuang Academy, said: “Mogao Grottoes were the largest and most well-preserved Buddhist art works in the world. Because of its immeasurable value, its protection has become a difficult and important problem. Twenty years ago, UNESCO proposed preserving cultural heritages digitally. In the Digital Dunhuang project, computer and imaging technologies are used to preserve Dunhuang Grottoes permanently, allowing future generations to appreciate and study the art no matter the time and space.” Su added, “A digital Dunhuang museum will soon be built to present the art in various ways; however, that can’t be possible without the support from the underlying data infrastructure. Since 2019, the institute has been working with technology firms like Huawei to discover possibilities in the digitalization and representation of cultural relics as well as intelligent tourist guidance and services.”
Taming the Storage Olympus Mons
Data has become a key factor of production in the digital economy. The popularity of enterprise digital transformation, cloud, big data, 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI) promotes the rapid development of applications such as core transaction, virtualization, high-performance computing, AI, and AR/VR, which in turn demand larger, faster, and more intelligent storage.
Opportunities for subversive new technologies hide in root technologies like diversified computing power, new media, high-performance networks, and intelligent data reduction algorithms. In addition, it remains a huge challenge to streamline the application ecosystem, enable underlying root technologies, and build a new data storage architecture to optimize storage cost-efficiency and unlock the power of mass data.
Therefore, Huawei has set an attractive award, namely the OlympusMons Award 2021, to encourage scientists around the world to tackle the challenge of building a storage system with ultimate cost-efficiency and making breakthroughs in next-generation root storage technologies. In providing such an award, Huawei hopes to work with researchers to build a better data storage system in terms of cloud-oriented, multi-cloud storage services, data-centric, new data application storage systems, AI-driven storage software architecture, and ground-breaking system architecture.
The OlympusMons Award is intended to direct base theoretical researches and facilitate the industrial application of research achievements, thus promoting win-win outcomes for the industry, universities, and research institutes. It will help the world tap into the benefits of digital technologies and industries transform toward an intelligent future.
Data is the peak humans must surmount on their journey to intelligence, and the OlympusMons Award symbolizes Huawei’s unremitting pursuit and exploration on this long journey, throughout which it will continue to work with the industry, universities, and research institutes.