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Facebook Parent Meta Builds Powerful AI Supercomputer to Support Metaverse

Facebook parent Meta creates powerful AI supercomputer to support metaverse


Facebook’s parent company Meta said that it is launching what it claims to be “the world’s fastest artificial intelligence supercomputer” as part of its plans to build a virtual metaverse.

The computer, which is already up and running but is still being built, is called AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) and it’s already listed among the top five fastest supercomputers. The AI supercomputer, according to the social media giant, would become the fastest AI machine in the world when it is expected to be fully built by mid-2022, and can process images and videos up to 20 times faster than the current systems.

FacebookFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a blogpost that the metaverse, a concept that blends the physical and digital world via virtual and augmented reality, will require “enormous” computing power.

“The experiences we’re building for the metaverse require enormous compute [sic] power (quintillions of operations/second!) and RSC will enable new AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, understand hundreds of languages, and more,” wrote Zuckerberg in a blogpost.

Back in 2017, Meta’s Facebook AI Research lab built a supercomputer with 22,000 Nvidia V100 Tensor Core GPUs in a single cluster. Performing 35,000 training jobs a day, it served as the company’s main AI supercomputer. But in 2020, Facebook decided to increase its computing power, building a new supercomputer to handle more advanced AI workloads.

The RSC is currently being used to train large models in natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision for research. The company said it hoped to “one day” train models with trillions of parameters and build new AI systems that can power real-time voice translations to large groups of people.

Compared to Meta’s previous system, the RSC runs computer vision workflows up to 20 times faster as said earlier; it runs the Nvidia Collective Communication Library (NCCL) more than nine times faster, and trains large scale NLP models three times faster, as per sources.

Meta said that development of the supercomputer was delayed by remote working and chip and component supply chain constraints, both caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together,” Meta said.

Meta researchers also said, it will help AI researchers build “new and better” AI models that can learn from “trillions” of examples and work across hundreds of different languages simultaneously and analyze text, images and video together.

Not just Meta, a long list of companies such as Alphabet, Microsoft, and Apple are also planning to lead the metaverse race. Several innovative startup companies have also been exploring the area in recent times, and sooner than later, the virtual world will become a reality for more and more people.

George Monaghan, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, said, “At this point, the metaverse is roughly at the same stage of development as the internet was in the mid 1990s. There’s lots of talk, investment is increasing, and some of the necessary parts are beginning to come together.”

Analysts believe there will be a significant amount of activity in the area starting 2022. Monaghan said that the kind of investment and enthusiasm by tech giants show that the metaverse will transform our lives. and businesses in the days to come.

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