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New IBM Supercomputer Installed At RPI

One of the world’s most powerful artificial intelligence supercomputers is now sited in Troy.

The supercomputer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Computational Innovations is part of a collaboration between IBM, Empire State Development, NY CREATES, and RPI.

Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson says the energy efficient supercomputer has been nicknamed AiMOS, "The Artificial Intelligence Multitasking Optimized System," honoring Amos Eaton, who co-founded RPI in 1824.    "Now the latest edition of the much watched top 500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers, notes that the most powerful new supercomputer on the list is AiMOS. AiMOS has achieved just over eight petaflops in preliminary tests, ranking at 24th in the world, and first among American private universities. Now it actually is more powerful than that. Now it also is at the very top of the Green 500 list of energy efficient supercomputers ranked third in the world.”

IBM Executive Vice President Dr. John Kelly says AiMOS is a connected series of servers and has been tasked with building super-efficient powerful computer chips.  "This machine does 8 billion calculations a million times a second."

AiMOS, Most Powerful Supercomputer at a Private University, To Focus on AI Research. IBM POWER9 system brings technology behind World's Smartest Supercomputers to the Empire State.

In other words, every person on earth would have to perform 1 million calculations per second, just to keep up with AiMOS.

RPI Center for Computational Innovations Director Christopher Carothers recites AiMOS's technical specs. "AiMOS is an IBM data-centric system, that keeps, computes, close to where the data is located, by leveraging advances in GPU accelerated computing technology. AiMOS has 252 compute nodes that are made up of 504 IBM Power nine processors. 1,512 in video voltage GPUs computer accelerators, 126 terabytes of system memory, and over 400 terabytes of high speed local solid state storage. All computers are interconnected by a massive mellanox factory network that provides over six terabytes of network bandwidth, which is more network bandwidth than one million homes have from their typical net Service provider today. To store and operate on extreme scale datasets AiMOS is connected to an 11 petabyte IBM Spectrum scale parallel file system that is capable of moving data in and out of the supercomputer to peak rate of 80 gigabytes a second."

Empire State Development awarded $30 million for the AI test bed at Rensselaer, which includes AiMOS. The supercomputer will also be involved with RPI projects in biology and chemistry, accessible to Rensselaer faculty, students and staff.  Jackson says the supercomputer will be available for use by New York state and SUNY.


Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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