On April 5, IBM unveiled IBM z16, the company’s next-generation system with an integrated on-chip artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator to deliver latency-optimized inferencing. With this innovation, clients will be able to analyze real-time transactions at scale. IBM z16 is even more valuable for mission-critical workloads such as credit card, health care and financial transactions.

Inference is a process of running live data points through a machine learning (ML) model to calculate a specific output. For example, in financial transactions, the output might be a numerical score that could detect fraud. While highly valuable, inference often isn’t fast enough to run all transactions at scale without damaging service levels. IBM z16 now aims to make those limits obsolete.

300 Billion Inference Requests per Day

With z16, IBM has embedded an AI accelerator on the IBM Telum processor. Now, banks can analyze for fraud during transactions on a massive scale. IBM z16 can process 300 billion inference requests per day with just one millisecond of latency.

For consumers, z16 may reduce the frustration of handling fraudulent transactions on their credit cards as claims can be processed faster. For merchants and card issuers, low latency inference means less revenue loss. With improved inference, consumer churn is less likely due to fewer false charge declines and improved customer service.

Applying the new capabilities of IBM z16 could help address threats such as tax fraud and organized retail theft. Also, real-time payments and cryptocurrency payment methods are pushing the limits on today’s fraud detection techniques. IBM z16 could be positioned to fill that gap.

Preparing for Quantum-Level Threats

If the future involves quantum computing, so does the future of cyberattacks. IBM z16 is built upon lattice-based cryptography. This quantum-safe approach constructs security primitives that help protect data and systems against current and future threats. Meanwhile, a secure boot prevents bad actors from injecting malware into the boot process to take over the system during startup.

IBM z16’s secure boot and quantum-safe cryptography can help clients thwart future quantum-computing related threats. This includes ‘harvest now, decrypt later’ attacks, which can lead to extortion, loss of intellectual property and disclosure of other sensitive data.

Ready for Hybrid Cloud

IBM has spent the last three years making major investments to embrace open-source technology on the IBM zSystems platform. The result is the creation of a common developer experience across the hybrid cloud. IBM’s solutions are designed to help companies leverage investments in existing IT infrastructure, clouds and applications. It also provides the flexibility to run, build, manage and modernize cloud-native workloads on nearly any architecture.

With IBM z16, IBM used a highly collaborative, client-centered approach that involved hundreds of people from more than 70 clients. This practice will continue forward for future IBM mainframe systems. IBM z16 will be generally available on May 31.

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