Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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AiMOS Press Conference

Category: Regional
December, 2019
Center for Computational Innovations
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Welcome to the Center for Computational Innovations at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

I am so glad that New York State Senator Daphne Jordan and Assemblyman John McDonald III and Jake Ashby could join us, and I am delighted also to welcome Dr. Grace Wang, Senior Vice Chancellor of the State University of New York for Research and Economic Development, and Interim President of SUNY Polytechnic.

Today, we are going to unveil the Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System, or AiMOS, in honor of our academic founder, Amos Eaton.

The latest edition of the much-watched Top500 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 24th in the world, and first among American private universities. It also is at the very top of the Green500 list of energy-efficient supercomputers, ranked third in the world. In partnership with IBM and New York State, Rensselaer and AiMOS will support a new New York State-IBM Research AI Hardware Center.

I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, Empire State Development, NY-CREATES, SUNY Polytechnic, and the SUNY Research Foundation, as well as our longtime friend IBM, for joining forces with Rensselaer in the AI Hardware Center. We also thank our state legislators for their ongoing support. And of course, no university could arrive at the top of the Top500 list without the commitment and encouragement of a strong Chairman and Board of Trustees, so I thank them as well.

The advent of AiMOS recognizes the long-term strengths of Rensselaer in high-performance computing, scientific computing, artificial intelligence, and hybrid computing.

AiMOS will be a key testbed for new chips that target AI workloads. It also will enable pure software innovations, and has the capacity to help solve one of the core problems in artificial intelligence, the need for greater transparency in AI decision-making. Here at Rensselaer, we have a new Artificial Intelligence Research Collaboration with IBM that is advancing both the science and the applications of artificial intelligence, in all five of our schools. AiMOS, clearly, undergirds that effort.

Like the world’s two most powerful supercomputers, AiMOS is an IBM system, powered by IBM-designed Power9 CPUs and NVIDIA V100 GPUs. So AiMOS, intended to consolidate our regional strengths in all things computational, is already an expression of that strength. IBM innovation in everything from semiconductors to supercomputers to cognitive systems has been spurred for nearly four decades by Executive Vice President Dr. John E. Kelly III of the Rensselaer Classes of 1978 and 1980. The CPUs are manufactured locally by GlobalFoundries, and the GPUs emanate from NVIDIA, the company co-founded by Mr. Curtis R. Priem of the Rensselaer Class of 1982, Secretary of our Board of Trustees, and inventor of pioneering graphics chips. You will hear more about the transformative nature of his work in just a moment.

AiMOS is fast enough to perform a million calculations per second for every person on Earth. That kind of firepower can address some very large and very stubborn challenges. As one among many examples, finding the particular genetic variations associated with ubiquitous, but very complex, diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer can require extremely data-intensive genome-wide association studies that scan markers across the genomes of a population. Those studies will now be easier, and a new, precise understanding of the ways that our genes set the stage for health or disease — as well as new therapeutics — may result. Modeling and simulation — in a data-informed, artificial intelligence-enabled manner — of the complexities presented by problems such as carbon sequestration, affordable clean energy, and clean water also now can be better understood.

And now, it is my great pleasure to introduce the Executive Vice President of IBM, the man who has kept IBM as the leading generator of United States patents for the last 26 years, Trustee of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the greatest possible partner of Rensselaer in research and education, Dr. John E. Kelly III of the Rensselaer Classes of 1978 and 1980…