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European consortium announces ‘the world’s fastest AI supercomputer’

Leonardo, unveiled at Italy’s CINECA research centre, uses more than 14,000 Nvidia GPUs to deliver the ‘world’s most powerful AI system’. 

The system has been reported by Nvidia to be capable of delivering 10 exaflops of AI performance in some half-precision floating-point (FP16) applications and could deliver around 200 petaflops when benchmarked for the Top500.

Leonardo is one of four new supercomputers procured through the EuroHPC initiative all using Nvidia’s accelerators, networking and software to advance Europe’s capabilities for AI and high performance computing.

The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) is pooling European resources to buy and deploy top-of-the-range supercomputers and develop innovative exascale supercomputing technologies and applications.

Created in 2018,  EuroHPC enables the pooling of EU and national HPC resources to support the development of a pan-European supercomputing infrastructure and supporting research and innovation.

These new systems will apply AI and data analytics across scientific and commercial applications that range from fighting COVID-19 and climate change to the design of advanced aeroplanes, cars, drugs and materials.

Joining Leonardo are three other supercomputers planned for the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Slovenia that will act as national centres of competence, expanding skills and creating jobs.

All four supercomputers announced use Nvidia Ampere architecture GPUs and Nvidia Mellanox HDR InfiniBand networks. Atos, an Nvidia systems partner headquartered in France, will build three of the four systems; Hewlett Packard Enterprise will construct the fourth.

Leonardo will be the world’s fastest AI supercomputer. Atos is harnessing nearly 14,000 Nvidia Ampere architecture GPUs and HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking to deliver a system with 10 exaflops of AI performance. It will use the InfiniBand Dragonfly+ network topology to deliver both flexibility and scalable performance.

Researchers at CINECA will apply that power to advance science, simulating planetary forces behind climate change and molecular movements inside a coronavirus. The centre is perhaps best known for its work on Quantum Espresso, a suite of open source codes for modeling nanoscale materials for jobs such as engineering better batteries.

A new supercomputer in Luxembourg called MeluXina, also part of the EuroHPC network, will connect 800 Nvidia A100 GPUs on HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand links. The system, to be built by Atos and powered by green energy from wood waste, will pack nearly 500 petaflops of AI performance.

The new Vega supercomputer at the Institute of Information Science in Maribor, Slovenia, (IZUM) will be based on the Atos BullSequana XH2000 system. The supercomputer, named after Slovenian mathematician Jurij Vega, includes 240 A100 GPUs and 1,800 HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand end points.

The IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center will host what’s expected to become the most powerful supercomputer in the Czech Republic. It will use 560 Nvidia A100 GPUs to deliver nearly 350 petaflops of AI performance — 7x the capabilities of the center’s existing system.

The supercomputer will be based on the HPE Apollo 6500 systems from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). It will serve researchers at the VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, where it’s based, as well as an expanding set of external academic and industrial users employing a mix of simulations, data analytics and AI.


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