University of Sydney now has a $2.3 million 700 teraflop computer to power its future AI research

Picture: Buena Vista Pictures

The University of Sydney has revealed its new supercomputer to help it develop artificial intelligence systems for our autonomous future.

Spec nerds, here’s the kind of power $2.3 million buys:

  • an rPeak performance of 1 petaflops
  • an rMax performance of 700 teraflops
  • Four dedicated NVIDIA NVLink connected Tesla V100 graphics processing units
  • Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 servers
  • 700TB Lustre Storage

It’s called Artemis 3.

For the rest of us, the important parts to note are it’s built on the most powerful Dell platform to date, and will deliver some 44 times more throughput than Artemis 2 for more than 500 key scientific and engineering applications.

The Tesla V100s are particularly noteworthy – they’ll deliver 125 teraflops of deep learning performance.

In a nutshell, Sydney Uni is serious about AI. Artemis 3 will be a key component of its new UBTECH Sydney Artificial Intelligence Centre.

Led by Professor Dacheng Tao, the multi-million dollar centre is a “multidisciplinary effort to solve some of the major challenges in AI and robotics”.

In the past, Sydney Uni’s Artemis systems have done everything from helping trace the evolution of matter over the history of the universe to optimising the transport network in global cities, including Sydney.

Artemis 2 was last upgraded in 2016. But while Artemis 3 is a clear sign of a push toward AI, it will also help the uni in geophysics and cosmology, rapidly growing areas of genomics and proteomics, and be used in emerging areas that tackle questions answerable by Big Data, such as economics, transport logistics and medical imaging.

Professor Geraint F Lewis, deputy director of the Sydney Informatics Hub at the uni, says the addition of deep-learning capabilities Dell’s involvement with Artemis 3 brings is “a mission-critical dimension of our research infrastructure”.

“With a greater number of research problems being data-driven, or more accessible because there is data, our researchers will be able to investigate questions that were previously unanswerable.”

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