2018 Nov.13

Domestic self-developed and self-made AI supercomputer “TAIWANIA 2" creates a new record

Driven by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the "Cloud Services and Big Data Computing Facilities and Integrated Class Storage System (referred to as AI Cloud Platform)", was implemented by the NCHC together with a team of three domestic pointer companies[1], such as Taiwan Mobile, ASUS and Quanta Computer. The AI supercomputer mainframe, named “TAIWANIA 2", has the excellent performance of 9 PFLOPS (9,000 gigabit floating-point operation per second[2]), ranked 20 in the latest 500 global high-speed computing hosts (TOP500); its energy efficiency (Green500) is ranked 10; both rankings are creating the best results for Taiwan supercomputer in global ranking list, but also write down an important milestone on the development of Taiwan's national strength of science and technology.

[1] The first AI mainframe in Taiwan was built jointly by the NCHC, National Applied Research Laboratories, and Quanta computer, ASUS and Taiwan Mobile. NCHC, National Applied Research Laboratories, is responsible for the design and supervision, and Quanta Computer is responsible for AI computing and data storage platforms; ASUS is responsible for cloud service platforms, cloud servers and AI application integration; Taiwan Mobile is responsible for the high-standard computer room construction and telecom-grade security operations in line with international standards. 

[2]Floating-point is a numerical value with a decimal number. Floating-point operation is a four-principle operation of this numerical value, which is often used to measure the speed of a computer. “Floating-point operations per second (FLOPS)” is the key to determining computer computing power. 1 PFLOPS represents 1,000 megabytes per second (1015 equals 1 Peta) of floating-point operation.         

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TOP500#20 (9PFLOPS)

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Green500#10 (11.285 GFLOPS/W)

In last year, the Ministry of Science and Technology called out the first year of AI and promoted the use of "Artificial Intelligence (AI)” as the main axis of the development of next generation to lead Taiwan entering into the intelligent life of the digital 4.0. Among the five strategies of the “Gorgeous Strategies of an AI Small Country”, the establishment of the AI cloud computing platform is one of the most important links. The purpose is to build a national AI R&D and cloud service environment and create an important foundation for national innovation. The NCHC, National Applied Research Laboratories, cooperates with Quanta Computer, ASUS and Taiwan Mobile to organize a national team that is responsible for the task of building national-level AI host. After seven months of hard working, we have successfully completed the hardware construction and performance testing of the “TAIWANIA 2" supercomputer, and also sent the optimal performance score to the TOP500 ranking challenge held twice a year.

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Table 1: Top500 2018-11

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Table 2: Green500 2018-11

“TAIWANIA 2” supercomputer consists of 252 compute nodes, each containing 2 CPUs and 8 state-of-the-art GPUs, and the host’s architecture design and specifications are synchronized with international trends and levels (See Figure 2). In the use of big data for in-depth learning, allowing scientists to demonstrate higher performance, however, in terms of energy conservation, TAIWANIA 2’s energy efficiency is up to 11.28 GF/W, computing power is up to 9 PFLOPS, but electricity usage is only 797.54 KW, which has become the most energy-efficient high-speed computing mainframe in Taiwan's history.

The Minister of Science and Technology Liang-Gee Chen said that the construction of this project is huge, in addition to the host system itself, but also involves in the software service platform, data center equipment electricity, system cooling, network connectivity and other levels, during the process of establishment, this team demonstrated superb technical capabilities, each performs its own functions, hence, to be able to complete this feat within seven months. The original estimated efficiency of the mainframe was 7 PFLOPS, which was upgraded to 9 PFLOPS by optimizing tuning and testing. This achievement was an outstanding achievement of the team. He also expressed his special gratitude to Director General Ce-Kuen Shieh and colleague of the NCHC as well as the joint efforts of the construction team.  

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HPC History in Taiwan

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TAIWANIA 2 : System and Framework

“TAIWANIA 2" is expected to be officially launched in the first half of next year. In addition to providing fast computing power, large storage space and secure network, it will become the largest domestic data market and model market in Taiwan through the establishment of AI cloud computing platform, providing more real-time and more convenient computing services to the industry, university and institute circles. In the future, 50% of computing resources will meet the needs of intelligent robots led by the government, in addition to prospective projects as well as university and institute projects, such as the self-driving experimental fields, AI innovation and research centers. Another 50% of computing resources will provide innovative industrial use in order to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence related technologies and services in Taiwan, so as to promote industrial innovation in the use of artificial intelligence, such as the applications of financial technology, intelligent manufacturing, intelligent medicine/health, and intelligent cities.