Nvidia Partners University Of Florida To Build AI Supercomputer

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Supercomputer for Florida university will offer 700 petaflops of AI performance to “tackle some of the world’s most formidable challenges”

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia has teamed up with the University of Florida to build the world’s fastest artificial intelligence based-supercomputer in higher education.

The two parties claim the $70 million initiative will deliver a supercomputer capable of 700 petaflops of AI performance to “tackle some of the world’s most formidable challenges”.

Earlier this month Nvidia overtook Intel to become the most valuable chipmaker in the United States.

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Founder donation

The initiative was made possible thanks to a $25 million gift from Nvidia for the hardware, software and training, plus $20 million from the university itself and $25 million from its alumnus Chris Malachowsky, who co-founded Nvidia.

The deal will also see the university enhance its current supercomputer, HiPerGator, with Nvidia chips and have it functional by early 2021.

The new supercomputer will be “catapult UF’s research strength to address some of the world’s most formidable challenges, create unprecedented access to AI training and tools for underrepresented communities, and build momentum for transforming the future of the workforce.”

“Along with an additional $20 million investment from UF, the initiative will create an AI-centric data center that houses the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in higher education,” the university said.

“This incredible gift from Chris and Nvidia will propel the state of Florida to new heights as it strives to be an economic powerhouse, an unrivaled leader in job creation and an international model of 21st-century know-how,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Over the coming years, tens of thousands of University of Florida graduates with this unique AI-oriented background will create their futures and ours, transforming our workforce and virtually every field and every industry here in Florida and around the world,” he added.

Supercomputer pedigree

Last month Nvidia announced that it had built an in-house supercomputer called Selene based on A100 GPUs.

Indeed, Nvidia’s GPUs are already used in 125 of the world’s top 500 supercomputers as of last year, with the figure rising to more than 300 for those including either Nvidia GPUs or Mellanox interconnects.

GPUs have become popular in high-performance computing as they help accelerate specialised workloads such as artificial intelligence, data anlalytics and big data visualisation.

A number of weather-forecast supercomputers around the world use Nvidia-based equipment, including the Spanish Meteorological Agency, the China Meteorological Administration, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, NASA and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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