Facebook’s parent Meta is building what it believes is among the fastest AI supercomputers running today.

The social networking giant said the move will help it build new and better AI models to detect harmful content and hate speech, and will allow it to work across multiple different languages, and develop new augmented reality tools.

To this end Meta announced it was building its AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) supercomputer, “that will accelerate AI research and help us build for the metaverse.”

SuperCluster (RSC) supercomputer

Meta announced the new supercomputer on Monday, which it said it was still currently building. It is expected to be fully built out by mid 2022.

The new machine is part of Meta’s transition to the metaverse, which saw it confirm last October that it would create 10,000 jobs across Europe to help achieve this goal.

The metaverse term, coined from science fiction, refers to the use of VR technology to create a semi-autonomous virtual world that’s interconnected with physical reality.

Late last month, Facebook said it is to build out its metaverse using artificial intelligence technology from a firm with a long history of US military and defence contracts, after it quietly acquired synthetic data start-up AI.Reveries in August, and folded it into its Reality Labs division that is part of the metaverse effort.

And now it has revealed the building of AI supercomputer.

“Today we’re introducing the AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which we believe is among the fastest AI supercomputers running today and will be the fastest in the world once fully built out in mid-2022,” said Meta.

“AI can currently perform tasks like translating text between languages and helping identify potentially harmful content, but developing the next generation of AI will require powerful supercomputers capable of quintillions of operations per second,” it said.

Specifically, Meta said RSC will help its AI researchers build better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyse text, images and video together; develop new augmented reality tools and more.

“Ultimately, the work done with RSC will pave the way toward building technologies for the next major computing platform – the metaverse, where AI-driven applications and products will play an important role,” Meta stated.

AI development

Meta stated that it has long developed its AI capabilities since 2013, and it is making ‘great strides’ including self-supervised learning, where algorithms can learn from vast numbers of unlabeled examples and transformers, which allow AI models to reason more effectively by focusing on certain areas of their input.

It said it realised it needed to design a new computing infrastructure (RSC) so that it can “fully realise the benefits of advanced AI, various domains, whether vision, speech, language, will require training increasingly large and complex models, especially for critical use cases like identifying harmful content.”

“With RSC, we can more quickly train models that use multimodal signals to determine whether an action, sound or image is harmful or benign,” Meta stated.

“This research will not only help keep people safe on our services today, but also in the future, as we build for the metaverse. As RSC moves into its next phase, we plan for it to grow bigger and more powerful, as we begin laying the groundwork for the metaverse.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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