Slovakia aims to build world’s fastest AI supercomputer

Slovakia aims to build world’s fastest AI supercomputer

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A consortium in Slovakia has announced an ambitious goal of developing the world’s fastest AI supercomputer.

I4DI (Innovations for Digital Infrastructure) brings together IT company PosAm and TV and networking provider Towercom with US AI chip startup Tachyum to build a National Supercomputing Centre (NSC) in Slovakia.

The founder of Tachyum, Dr. Radoslav Danilak, was born in Slovakia and serves on the Slovak government’s Innovation Advisory Board, and the company has an office in the capital Bratislava. Danilak was cofounder and CTO of SandForce, acquired by LSI in 2011, and has been a chipset and GPU architect at nVidia, a CPU architect at Nishan Systems and Toshiba, and chief architect of a 64bit x86 CPU at Gizmo Tech.

With the support of the Slovak Academy of Science and Ministry of Investment, Regional Development and Informatization, the AI supercomputer planned for the NSC will use the Prodigy chip switching between hyperscale, AI and HPC workloads.

Tachyum’s largest chip, the T16128, has 128 cores running up to 4GHz, and the company says other companies in storage, networking, rack manufacturing, power, software, services and telecommunications spaces, many with manufacturing capabilities in Slovakia, are expected to join the consortium in the near future. First silicon of Tachyum’s first chip, a 64 core chip has taped out on a 7nm process, and samples are expected this year.  

“By launching a partnership among leading European and global technology companies, we are able to transform the region’s capabilities from consumers to producers of supercomputing capabilities that will transform the AI landscape,” said Danilak. “It is imperative to develop supercomputing capabilities like the NSC to improve not only the Danube Valley, but the EU as a whole. We look forward to working with our fellow I4DI partners in delivering supercomputing solutions the change the fundamentals limiting the industry today.”

Next: AI supercomputer for data sovereignty

He points to the data challenges also highlighted by Infineon CEO Dr Reinhard Ploss, calling for sovereign data handling capability. 

Tachyum highlights that much of existing data in the EU is controlled and monetized by US corporations today, and I4DI and NSC will serve as an example of how a future AI supercomputer can be built. This will help transform Slovakia and the entire EU region from an importer of data centre and supercomputer technologies to an innovative leader in research and development for worldwide AI and HPC solutions, says the company.

It says the I4DI datacentre design can provide a blueprint for future government or commercial cloud initiatives, as using the Prodigy chip across a wide range of different AI workloads can increase utilization to over 90 percent compared to 40 percent for a heterogeneous datacentre using CPUs and GPUs. The Prodigy chip can run HPC applications, convolution AI, explainable AI, general AI, bio AI and spiking neural networks, as well as normal data centre workloads on a single homogeneous processor platform, using standard programming models.

Danilak also points to a report saying the EU consumes 30 percent of the world’s supercomputing resources, but has only 5 percent of the world’s capacity. This has led the EU Commission to support three supercomputer projects in Spain, Italy and Finland.

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