American institute provides AI supercomputer with 6000 Nvidia A100 GPUs

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The US National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center deploys Perlmutter, a supercomputer focused on artificial intelligence. The supercomputer contains more than six thousand Nvidia A100 accelerators and fifteen hundred AMD EPYC 7763 CPUs.

Located in Berkeley Lab’s Nersc’s Shyh Wang Hall facility, Perlmutter is named after Saul Perlmutter, a physicist who co-won the 2011 Nobel Prize for his research into the rate at which the universe is expanding. More than 7,000 scientists can use the high-performance system, which is three to four times as powerful as Nersc’s Cori supercomputer, which was the institute’s most powerful to date.

The cluster is based on HPE Cray’s Shasta platform and will be built in three phases. Phase one is ready and offers 1536 nodes, each with an AMD EPYC 7763 processor and four A100 GPUs connected via NVlink. The system also offers a Luster file system of 35 petabytes of flash memory. This gives scientists access to more than four exaflops of mixed-precision computing power.

They can use the computing power for, among other things, making a 3D representation of the visible universe, Nvidia describes. This requires processing huge amounts of data from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, something that took weeks to months on the previous system, which should reduce Perlmutter to a few days.

Later this year, the supercomputer in phase two should receive an upgrade with 3072 cpu nodes, each with two AMD EPYC 7763 processors and 512GB memory per node.

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