Nvidia builds supercomputer in Israel data centre for AI tasks as demand around generative artificial intelligence surges
Called Israel-1, the system has been developed over the past 18 months at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars and is to be deployed at Nvidia’s Israel data centre.
It is to be used as a blueprint and testbed for Nvidia Spectrum-X, a networking platform that can be used to improve the performance and efficiency of Ethernet-based AI clouds.
Nvidia said it aims to allow developers to build software-defined, cloud-native AI applications while reducing run times of massive transformer-based generative AI models.
The system is one of Nvidia’s biggest projects in recent years and was reportedly at the centre of a visit to Israel by chief executive Jensen Huang last month.
Israel-1 is expected to deliver performance of up to eight exaflops, making it one of the world’s fastest AI supercomputers.
It was designed by engineers from Israeli high-performance chip design firm Mellanox Technologies, which Nvidia bought in 2019 for nearly $7 billion (£6bn), outbidding Intel.
Nvidia’s chips are critical to the booming AI economy and the firm last week reported first-quarter revenues that dramatically exceeded analysts’ expectations, as well as revenue for the second quarter that was 50 percent more than analysts had predicted, reflecting an annual growth rate of 64 percent.
Data centre infrastructure was the largest and fastest-growing segment of Nvidia’s revenue, growing by 14 percent in the first quarter.
“Transformative technologies such as generative AI are forcing every enterprise to push the boundaries of data center performance in pursuit of competitive advantage,” said Nvidia senior vice president of networking Gilad Shainer.
“Nvidia Spectrum-X is a new class of Ethernet networking that removes barriers for next-generation AI workloads that have the potential to transform entire industries.”
Shainer said the Israel-1 system could be partly operational by the end of this year, offering advanced AI training capabilities to the 800 start-ups Nvidia works with in Israel.
He said Nvidia may use the system to work with partners outside Israel at a later time.