"Nowadays, ways to handle bias (gender, race, age and so on) are at the heart of any AI solution. This has led to the birth of a new stream of AI called eXplainable AI or XAI in short. XAI is all about describing the rationale behind AI decision making avoiding any underlying bias."

Joining us today is Swaminathan (Mac) Mahalingam, Senior Lead Architect at HSBC.

We caught up with Mac to discuss the talk he gave at AI Accelerator Festival on 'AI Hardware Innovation: Driving a New Nextgen Computing Paradigm', what excites him about AI, the biggest challenges for organizations adopting AI and the best projects he's worked on.


Q: To kick things off, it would be great to learn a bit more about your background. What led you to get into your chosen area of AI?


A: I am a Senior Technology Leader in Financial Services specialising in Digital Banking, Cloud Transformation, AI/ML/DL and Cloud Payments.

Working as a Senior Lead Architect for HSBC Wholesale Banking in the UK, I lead the design function for COVID-19 Lending projects and Global Lending Technology Strategy.

Having worked for banks and investment banks in the UK for more than a decade, I saw that “Digital Banking” was just getting started around 2014 and I gravitated to that. They say, opportunity seldom knocks our door twice. Fortunately, I have been a Chief Architect of a Neobank launch in 2015 and a Chief Architect of a NextGen bank launch in 2020.


Q: What excites you the most about AI within your respected industry? What advancements do you see disrupting/having an impact on the areas you work in?

A: The ease and scale of AI adoption really fascinates me. Now more than ever before, it’s easy to design and implement an AI solution in any industry, especially Financial Services. Public Cloud adoption has had a profound impact in my area of work in Wholesale Banking and so does AI/ML.

Advances in supervised/unsupervised/reinforced learning and explainable AI are disrupting the way AI and ML are adopted today. Particularly, there is significant investment and research happening around AI accelerators related to compute, memory, storage and networking.


Q: What is the biggest challenge within your respected industry for organizations adopting AI?

A: Biggest challenge in adopting AI is Explainability. Traditionally, AI had been a blackbox with not many able to comprehend what happens inside the training and inference services. Nowadays, ways to handle bias (gender, race, age and so on) are at the heart of any AI solution. This has led to the birth of a new stream of AI called eXplainable AI or XAI in short. XAI is all about describing the rationale behind AI decision making avoiding any underlying bias.


Q: What is the most exciting project you’ve personally worked on within the last 3 years?

A: In early 2019, I started as the Chief Architect for HSBC Kinetic Digital Bank programme within HSBC Wholesale Banking in the UK. This a one-of-a-kind project in any Tier-1 bank where we built a mobile-first cloud-native bank and it was a pleasure delivering the Digital bank that acts as a “challenger for challenger”.


Q: What are you currently working on?

A: Currently, I am leading the Architecture and Design function for COVID-19 Lending projects. Also, I am working on Global Lending Technology strategy and some potential use cases involving AI and ML.


Q: What can our audience expect from your session at the upcoming AI Accelerator Festival?

A: In my session ‘AI Hardware Innovation: Driving a new nextgen computing paradigm’, the audience will be introduced to the latest trends in AI Hardware innovation and the new AI-accelerator chips being adopted for highly specific roles in the burgeoning cloud-to-edge ecosystem.

Following on we’ll see what a typical AI Tech Stack looks like and see how the challenges in AI are converted into opportunities by various players. We’ll also look at the various AI Chips architecture and see how AI is reshaping a nextgen computing paradigm making Data Quality and Data Quantity equally important.

Swaminathan is presenting at the AI Accelerator Festival.

Check out his session 'AI Hardware Innovation: Driving a new nextgen computing paradigm'.

What are you waiting for? Grab your pass for the AI Accelerator Festival.