UCSD, AIST Forge Tighter Alliance with AI-Focused MOU

By Tiffany Trader

January 18, 2018

The rich history of collaboration between UC San Diego and AIST in Japan is getting richer. The organizations entered into a five-year memorandum of understanding on January 10. The MOU represents the continuation of a 15-year relationship between UCSD and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) that goes back to 2002 with the establishment of the Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA).

With the upcoming spring launch of AIST’s AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI), the deployment of the GPU-powered CHASE-CI machine learning infrastructure (see our coverage here), COMET’s GPU expansion, and the announcement of UCSD’s Data Science Institute, it’s easy to understand the enthusiasm for the opportunities afforded by the MOU, which builds on a shared history and mutual interests and activities around cutting-edge developments in supercomputing AI and deep learning.

The MOU covers research, education, and application of scientific knowledge in AI and more broadly data-intensive science and robotics. Target activities include the organization of workshops between the U.S. and Japan; exchange of faculty, scholars and researchers between the two campuses; collaborative infrastructure projects between UC’s Pacific Research Platform (PRP) and AIST’s AI Bridging Cloud Infastructure (ABCI) and the use of ABCI for collaborative research projects.

UCSD’s soon-to-be-launched Data Science Institute will also play a role. The institute, made possible thanks to a $75 million endowment from Taner Halicioglu (the largest ever by a UC San Diego alumnus), will be physically colocated with the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).

Phil Papadopoulos, chief technology officer of SDSC, and Satoshi Sekiguchi, vice president of AIST, at the UCSD campus signing ceremony on Jan. 10, 2018

Leaders from both groups took part in the signing ceremony and shared remarks. In addition to the two respective project leads, Satoshi Sekiguchi, vice president of AIST, and Phil Papadopoulos, chief technology officer of SDSC, we heard from Michael Norman, director, SDSC; Larry Smarr, director, Calit2; Jeff Elman, UCSD Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and one of the co-directors of the new Data Science Institute; and Jason Haga of AIST, speaking on behalf of AIST President Ryoji Chubachi.

Papadopoulos recounted how the groups had developed close ties under PRAGMA and are well-aligned due to their mutual interest in deep learning, GPU-based computation, big data, and very high speed networks. “With all these things happening every day at UCSD at the Data Sciences Institute, the Pacific Research Platform (PRP) out of Calit2, the GPU expansions on COMET, CHASE-CI which is a distributed deep learning platform that is just being built on top of the PRP, it made sense that this really should be a UCSD-wide agreement. AIST is really a terrific organization and is collaborative by nature in the global sense of the word.”

Satoshi Sekiguchi, vice president of AIST, shared similar sentiments and an appreciation of the extended research family. “UCSD’s strength in application and infrastructure areas aligns with AIST’s primary research interest of IT platforms and AI accelerations. These activities also align very well with the Pacific Research Platform that Larry Smarr and Tom DeFanti have been leading.”

At AIST and at the Department of Information Technology and Human Factors, where Sekiguchi serves as director general, one of the key messages on artificial intelligence research is embedding AI in the real world. “AI should be deployed in the physical space to help solve the real problems in life such as in the manufacturing industries, health care and so on and we wish to contribute to the private sectors to help them realize development of AI technologies,” said Sekiguchi. To this end, AIST has established partnerships with several well-known companies, including NEC, Panasonic, and Toyota Industries.

Sekiguchi also expressed his appreciation for the hard work that made it possible for this MOU to come together in only three months. “The short MOU negotiations happened because of our years of friendly relationships. For example, when the Calit2 building opened, they kindly offered us an office to accommodate the AIST research staff and to collaborate continuously together on the PRAGMA program and beyond that,” said Sekiguchi.

SDSC Director Michael Norman praised AIST as a world leader in developing HPC systems and applications in AI, deep learning for science and society. He referred to the ABCI system that is currently being developed with nearly 5,000 GPUs as “the mother of all GPU clusters.”

“This will be one of the most powerful systems for the areas of AI and deep learning. And so at a very practical level this MOU with UCSD will allow UCSD to have a front row seat to this bold experiment in the future of computing and we will be able to participate in it with a bidirectional visitor exchange program. Through this MOU we hope to broaden UCSD’s interactions with the scientists and engineers at AIST across the organization, building on our long-standing relationship in computing,” said Norman.

Programmatic synergies between the two groups are numerous and include energy and the environment, materials and chemistry, life sciences and biotechnology, information technology and electronics and manufacturing.

Larry Smarr, director of Calit2, emphasized the diverse nature of the joint MOU as well as the complementarity between the university and AIST. In 2002, when Calit2 had the largest information technology research grant from NSF in the country to build the OptIPuter, AIST was a formal international partner to that grant from the beginning. This resulted in a long history of high speed optical networking between the institutions. Smarr stated that one of the goals of the MOU will be to set up a 10-100 gigabit per second link directly into AIST from UCSD to accommodate the next phase of artificial intelligence and deep learning on massive amounts of data.

Smarr is co-PI on CHASE-CI (the Cognitive Hardware and Software Ecosystem Cyberinfrastructure), the NSF-funded GPU cloud being built on top of the Pacific Research Platform. “This framework allows for investigators here with the variety of big data including cognitive science to make use of what is essentially the broadest set of architectures to support machine learning anywhere in the world,” said Smarr.

Jeff Elman, one of the co-directors of the new Data Science Institute along with Rajesh Gupta, spoke of the possibilities afforded by the MOU in relation to the new institute and the shared focus on being a force for good in the world. He also emphasized the cross-disciplinary nature of the collaboration.

“The institute has both a research mission in terms of stimulating and supporting research, innovation, but also an educational mission, in terms of training students, post-docs and also interacting with training opportunities from partners and here’s where I see really exciting opportunities with AIST,” said Elman.

“We are entering and in fact have entered an era where the kinds of data that we now have available surpass, I think, the scope of our imaginations to grapple with both in terms of scope, the range of things we can now quantify and measure and the magnitude, the scale, from the nano to the peta, and now there’s an exa and a zetta,” Elman continued. “These data have tremendous potential on the one hand to help us understand phenomena that are global in nature or micro or nano in nature, not only to understand but also to guide action because I think ultimately science and technology are about understanding the world so that one can change it to intervene when there are harmful things but also to benefit and make improvements. Reading AIST’s mission statement clearly the focus on technology for the social good is something that you value and it is clearly a very important part of the ethos of this campus and of the new institute.”

The final set of remarks were delivered by Jason Haga, senior research scientist in the Information Technology Research Institute of AIST, on behalf of AIST President Dr. Ryoji Chubachi. “[As part of this MOU] we will create joint projects between AIST and UCSD using our new ABCI infrastructure to help establish the largest collaboration platform based on AI. Both institutions will aim to build a cyberinfrastructure that enables mutual access to big data accumulated both in the U.S. and Japan. Furthermore we will expand these activities to other institutions in the U.S. as well as Asia to create a larger global network. I would like to conclude by wishing that our collaboration will lead the way in U.S.-Japan innovation in the future.”

From left to right: Jeff Elman, co-director of UCSD Data Science Institute; Michael Norman, director, SDSC; Larry Smarr, director, Calit2; Satoshi Sekiguchi, vice president of AIST; Jason Haga, senior research scientist in the Information Technology Research Institute of AIST; and Phil Papadopoulos, chief technology officer of SDSC
Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

RSC Reports 500Tflops, Hot Water Cooled System Deployed at JINR

April 18, 2018

RSC, developer of supercomputers and advanced HPC systems based in Russia, today reported deployment of “the world's first 100% ‘hot water’ liquid cooled supercomputer” at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JI Read more…

By Staff

New Device Spots Quantum Particle ‘Fingerprint’

April 18, 2018

Majorana particles have been observed by university researchers employing a device consisting of layers of magnetic insulators on a superconducting material. The advance opens the door to controlling the elusive particle Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’s introduction of an ARM-based system (XC-50) last November. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in Los Angeles. The Read more…

By Staff

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’ Read more…

By John Russell

IBM: Software Ecosystem for OpenPOWER is Ready for Prime Time

April 16, 2018

With key pieces of the IBM/OpenPOWER versus Intel/x86 gambit settling into place – e.g., the arrival of Power9 chips and Power9-based systems, hyperscaler sup Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cloud-Readiness and Looking Beyond Application Scaling

April 11, 2018

There are two aspects to consider when determining if an application is suitable for running in the cloud. The first, which we will discuss here under the title Read more…

By Chris Downing

Transitioning from Big Data to Discovery: Data Management as a Keystone Analytics Strategy

April 9, 2018

The past 10-15 years has seen a stark rise in the density, size, and diversity of scientific data being generated in every scientific discipline in the world. Key among the sciences has been the explosion of laboratory technologies that generate large amounts of data in life-sciences and healthcare research. Large amounts of data are now being stored in very large storage name spaces, with little to no organization and a general unease about how to approach analyzing it. Read more…

By Ari Berman, BioTeam, Inc.

IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network

April 5, 2018

IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qu Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positi Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This