Nvidia and University of Florida Partner on AI Supercomputer

The University of Florida (UF) and Nvidia joined forces to enhance the former’s HiPerGator supercomputer with DGX SuperPOD architecture. Set to go online by early 2021, HiPerGator will deliver 700 petaflops (one quadrillion floating-point operations per second), making it the fastest academic AI supercomputer. UF and Nvidia said the HiPerGator will enable the application of AI to a range of studies, including “rising seas, aging populations, data security, personalized medicine, urban transportation and food insecurity.”

VentureBeat reports that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Underwood International College and the University of Brasilia published a paper showing that improvement in deep learning is “strongly reliant” on computing increases.

HiPerGator will be “roughly 18 times as powerful as the University of Texas at Austin’s Frontera … [and] among the first to receive Nvidia’s DGX A100 systems,” which “packs eight 7-nanometer Ampere-based A100 Tensor Core GPUs, providing 320 gigabytes of memory and the latest high-speed Mellanox HDR 200Gbps interconnects.”

According to VB, HiPerGator will add “140 DGX A100 systems powered by 1,120 Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs, coupled with 4 petabytes of storage from DDN and 15 kilometers of optical cable.” It adds that, according to Nvidia, “a single A100 GPU’s 54 billion transistors can execute 5 petaflops of performance.” UF Health is already using AI models to “help collect, organize, and monitor patient conditions in real time through a system known as DeepSOFA.”

Nvidia will support and collaborate with UF on three AI areas. Its solutions architects and product engineers will “team up with UF on the installation, operation, and optimization” of supercomputing resources. Its Deep Learning Institute “will work with UF to develop curriculum, coursework, and programming … in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and AI.”

It will also establish an Nvidia AI Technology Center at UF to allow graduate fellows and Nvidia staff to partner on AI projects. UF stated that these actions “will lay the groundwork for the integration of AI with all of its disciplines, making it a ‘ubiquitous part’ of the institution’s academic enterprise.” UF will “offer certificates and degree programs in AI and data science … [and commit] to hiring 100 more faculty members focused on AI.” Its goal is to train 30,000 graduates in AI by 2030.

UF also plans to collaborate with “historically Black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, and K-12 programs and establishing the Equitable AI program, which will seek to bring faculty members across the university to create standards and certifications for developing tools and solutions cognizant of bias, unethical practice, and legal and moral issues.”

A $50 million gift — made up of $25 million from UF alumnus/Nvidia fellow Chris Malachowsky and $25 million from Nvidia for hardware, software, training and services — has made these initiatives possible.

The UF announcement can be read here.