A new supercomputer can run 'brain-scale' AI, rivaling human brains

A new exascale supercomputer in China, developed by Sunway, has trained an AI model dubbed bagualu with 174 trillion parameters.

Published Jun 23, 2022 7:39 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Jul 27 2022 3:51 AM CDT
1 minute & 3 seconds read time

The latest generation of Sunway supercomputer rivals the performance of Frontier, which was recently labelled the world's most powerful supercomputer.

A new supercomputer can run 'brain-scale' AI, rivaling human brains 01

According to the researchers behind the latest Sunway supercomputer, the Sunway has over 37 million CPU cores, quadrupling the number found in Frontier, nine petabytes of memory, and 96,000 semi-independent computer systems referred to as 'nodes,' that can exchange data at rates greater than 23 petabytes per second. The Sunway is capable of exascale computing, allegedly up to 5.3 exaFLOPS (5.3 quintillion floating-point operations per second).

The research team trained an artificial intelligence (AI) model, named bagualu (meaning alchemist's pot), with 174 trillion parameters using the Sunway. According to the South China Morning Post, this number rivals that of the number of synapses in the human brain, though some estimates of the true number of synapses go as high as 1,000 trillion.

Sunway developed one of the world's previous fastest supercomputers, the TaihuLight, which held the top spot between 2016 and 2018. Since 2016, three exascale supercomputers have been in development in China.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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