In October 2020, it was announced that the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation had donated SEK 300 million, which is about $33.6 million (USD), to Sweden’s Linköping University and the National Supercomputer Centre to create Sweden’s fastest AI supercomputer. The aim is to accelerate Swedish machine learning and artificial intelligence research across academia and industry. The foundation is in charge of the Wallenberg Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems, and Software Program network, which is the largest private research initiative focused on artificial intelligence innovation in the country. Work on the new supercomputer is due to begin this year. Let us take a closer look at the world of supercomputers and the fastest AI supercomputer to ever be built in Sweden.
What are supercomputers?
The computing infrastructure of supercomputers goes way beyond the type of infrastructure found in your personal computer. So, if you enjoy playing games like blackjack and roulette at a live casino, stick to your PC, phone, or tablet! Supercomputers are not designed for playing games. The first notable supercomputer was built by UNIVAC in 1960. The Livermore Atomic Research Computer was used by the US Navy Research and Development Center. Other supercomputers were then built in the 1960s and beyond.
Basically, a supercomputer has an extraordinarily high level of performance, compared to a general-purpose computer. Supercomputers’ performance is measured in floating-point operations per second, abbreviated to FLOPS, instead of million instructions per second. Supercomputers play an essential role in computational science, and they are used for a broad range of computational tasks in various sectors, including weather forecasting, climate research, physical simulations, oil and gas exploration, quantum physics, and molecular modeling. Today’s supercomputers are taking things a further step forward by focusing on artificial intelligence.
The Team at Linköping University Are Supercomputer Experts
As exciting as the news of a super-fast AI supercomputer is, hosting world-class supercomputers is nothing new for the team of professionals at Linköping University. Its Supercomputer Center is already home to six traditional supercomputers, including the Tetralith, which was the most powerful supercomputer in Scandinavia after its installation in 2018. Tetralith consists of 1908 compute nodes. The performance of the system is around 3 Pflop/s (LINPACK Rmax). But Sweden’s new supercomputer is pushing things even further. Indeed, it will be more than twice as fast as Tetralith.
What do we know about Sweden’s new AI supercomputer?
Sweden’s new supercomputer is named after one of the founders of modern chemistry, the Swede Jacob Berzelius. The BerzeLiUs supercomputer will have an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD infrastructure and deliver 300 petaflops of artificial intelligence performance in order to lead the way in state-of-the-art deep learning models and AI research. It will be the fastest computing cluster the team at Linköping University has ever installed.
By building the BerzeLiUs supercomputer with NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD technology, the team at Linköping will be able to start running complex artificial intelligence models without having to wait around for years as is usually the norm when planning and developing such models.
The system is to be built and installed by Atos. Initially, it will comprise sixty interconnected NVIDIA DGX A100 systems across an NVIDIA Mellanox InfiniBand fabric and 1.5 petabytes of DDN high-performance storage. The supercomputer will also feature the Atos Codex AI Suite, which will enable researchers to speed up the processing times of their complex data.
With the BerzeLiUs, Sweden will demonstrate that it is leading the way in artificial intelligence research, enabling Swedish businesses to gain a competitive edge in telecommunications, manufacturing, drug development, and other industries.