NSF Awards $1.8M to Expand PSC Bridges’ Deep Learning Capabilities

By Staff

September 26, 2018

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center’s (PSC’s) Bridges system is being upgraded to provide the world’s most powerful artificial intelligence (AI) servers to the national research community according to PSC. The supplemental award of $1.8 million from the National Science Foundation funds acquisition of the resource, which features specialized graphics processing units (GPUs). “Bridges-DL’s” integration with the rest of Bridges and new staff positions will help researchers exploit the system’s full potential.

“PSC provides resources that let people go beyond ‘What can I do, given my local resources?’ to ‘How can I leverage data to make the next breakthrough?’” said Paola Buitrago, director of artificial intelligence and big data at PSC and co-principal investigator for Bridges in today’s announcement. “It’s breaking that barrier that unleashes creativity and accelerates discovery.”

The new resource, delivered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), will add an NVIDIA DGX-2 enterprise AI research system and nine HPE Apollo 6500 Gen10 servers. The NVIDIA DGX-2 tightly integrates 16 NVIDIA Tesla “Volta” GPUs – the most powerful GPUs in the world—using the world’s highest-bandwidth on-node switch, the NVSwitch. When used as a single processing unit, the DGX-2 provides 2 petaflops of peak performance, 1,000 times faster than a high-end laptop. The HPE Apollo 6500 servers each have eight “Volta” GPUs internally connected by NVIDIA’s NVLink 2.0, providing substantial capacity to run many models concurrently.

Bridges-DL will be integrated with the existing Bridges system, providing a total of 17 petabytes of data storage, 29,036 CPU cores, 216 GPUs, 277 terabytes aggregate memory, and individual nodes with up to 12 terabytes of memory. Bridges, including Bridges-DL, is available at no charge for open research and education, and on a cost-recovery basis to industry.

Bridges-DL balances maximum capability and capacity, supporting the most complex deep-learning models with the highest accuracy and incorporating the largest data sets. Bridges-DL will make those transformative resources available – at no cost – to researchers across the country. PSC is a joint program of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Link to CMU article: https://www.cmu.edu/mcs/news-events/2018/0924_NSF-funds-AI-upgrade-for-PSC.html

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