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!

Pfizer HPC Engineer Aims to Automate Software Stack Testing

January 17, 2019

Seeking to reign in the tediousness of manual software testing, Pfizer HPC Engineer Shahzeb Siddiqui is developing an open source software tool called buildtest, aimed at automating software stack testing by providing the community with a central repository of tests for common HPC apps and the ability to automate execution of testing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Senegal Prepares to Take Delivery of Atos Supercomputer

January 16, 2019

In just a few months time, Senegal will be operating the second largest HPC system in sub-Saharan Africa. The Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Mary Teuw Niane made the announcement on Monday (Jan. 14 Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Cloud Platform Extends GPU Instance Options

January 16, 2019

If it's Nvidia GPUs you're after to power your AI/HPC/visualization workload, Google Cloud has them, now claiming "broadest GPU availability." Each of the three big public cloud vendors has by turn touted the latest and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Systems With Intel Omni-Path: Architected for Value and Accessible High-Performance Computing

Today’s high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) users value high performing clusters. And the higher the performance that their system can deliver, the better. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Resource Management in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

New challenges demand fresh approaches

Fueled by GPUs, big data, and rapid advances in software, the AI revolution is upon us. Read more…

STAC Floats ML Benchmark for Financial Services Workloads

January 16, 2019

STAC (Securities Technology Analysis Center) recently released an ‘exploratory’ benchmark for machine learning which it hopes will evolve into a firm benchmark or suite of benchmarking tools to compare the performanc Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Platform Extends GPU Instance Options

January 16, 2019

If it's Nvidia GPUs you're after to power your AI/HPC/visualization workload, Google Cloud has them, now claiming "broadest GPU availability." Each of the three Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

STAC Floats ML Benchmark for Financial Services Workloads

January 16, 2019

STAC (Securities Technology Analysis Center) recently released an ‘exploratory’ benchmark for machine learning which it hopes will evolve into a firm benchm Read more…

By John Russell

A Big Data Journey While Seeking to Catalog our Universe

January 16, 2019

It turns out, astronomers have lots of photos of the sky but seek knowledge about what the photos mean. Sound familiar? Big data problems are often characterize Read more…

By James Reinders

Intel Bets Big on 2-Track Quantum Strategy

January 15, 2019

Quantum computing has lived so long in the future it’s taken on a futuristic life of its own, with a Gartner-style hype cycle that includes triggers of innovation, inflated expectations and – though a useful quantum system is still years away – anticipatory troughs of disillusionment. Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM’s New Global Weather Forecasting System Runs on GPUs

January 9, 2019

Anyone who has checked a forecast to decide whether or not to pack an umbrella knows that weather prediction can be a mercurial endeavor. It is a Herculean task: the constant modeling of incredibly complex systems to a high degree of accuracy at a local level within very short spans of time. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft to Buy Mellanox?

December 20, 2018

Networking equipment powerhouse Mellanox could be an acquisition target by Microsoft, according to a published report in an Israeli financial publication. Microsoft has reportedly gone so far as to engage Goldman Sachs to handle negotiations with Mellanox. Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This