The University of Florida (UF) and Nvidia plan to build the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in academia, delivering 700 petaflops of AI performance. The leading supercomputers tend to be in government research labs and are reaching over 1000 petaflop of performance, depending on the resolution of the AI framework.
The effort is anchored by a $50 million gift: $25 million from Nvidia co-founder Chris Malachowsky and graduates of the university and $25 million in hardware, software, training and services from Nvidia. “We’ve created a replicable, powerful model of public-private cooperation for everyone’s benefit,” said Malachowsky.
UF will invest an additional $20 million to create an AI-centric supercomputing and data centre that will also be bed by Nvidia. The $70 million public-private partnership promises to make UF one of the leading AI universities in the US.
This follows Microsoft’s plans to build a cloud-based AI supercomputer for Open AI with 10,000 GPU cores: MICROSOFT’S MISSING AI METRIC: POWER
UF will add the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD architecture to its existing supercomputer, HiPerGator, and plans to be up and running by early 2021. This will integrate 140 of the latest DGX A100 systems powered by a combined 1,120 A100 Tensor Core GPUs. It will include 4 petabytes of high-performance storage. An Nvidia Mellanox HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand network will provide the high throughput and extremely low-latency network connectivity.
This gives the university the tools to apply AI across a multitude of areas to address major challenges such as rising seas, aging populations, data security, personalized medicine, urban transportation and food insecurity. UF expects to create 30,000 AI-enabled graduates by 2030. “Our vision is to become the nation’s first AI university,” said University of Florida President Kent Fuchs.
“The partnership here with the UF, the state of Florida, and NVIDIA, anchored by Chris’ generous donation, goes beyond just money,” said Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia who founded NVIDIA in 1993 along with Malachowsky and Curtis Priem. “We are excited to contribute NVIDIA’s expertise to work together to make UF a national leader in AI and help address not only the region’s, but the nation’s challenges.”
The effort aims to help define a research landscape to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as supporting agriculture in a time of climate change, addressing the needs of an aging population, and managing the effects of rising sea levels in a state with more than 1,300 miles of coastline.
The single software platform covers data analytics, AI training and inference acceleration, and recommendation systems. Its multi-modal capabilities combine sound, vision, speech and a contextual understanding.
Nvidia also plans to use the system. Its Deep Learning Institute will collaborate with UF on developing new curriculum and coursework for both students and the community, including programing tuned to address the needs of young adults and teens to encourage their interest in STEM and AI, better preparing them for future educational and employment opportunities.
UF will become the site of the latest NVIDIA AI Technology Center, where UF Graduate Fellows and Nvidia staff will work together on AI technology.
NVIDIA solution architects and product engineers will partner with UF on the installation, operation and optimization of the NVIDIA-based supercomputing resources on campus, including the latest AI software applications.
UF will also make investments all around its new machine, well beyond the $20 million targeted at upgrading their data centre. “It’s been thrilling to watch all this,” said Malachowsky. “It provides a blueprint for how other states can work with their region’s resources to make similar investments that bring their residents the benefits of AI, while bolstering our nation’s competitiveness, capabilities and expertise.”
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