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Meta reveals it’s built one of the world’s fastest supercomputers to power the metaverse

c|netStephen Shankland | Jan 24, 2022

Metas RSC AI Supercomputer - Meta reveals it's built one of the world's fastest supercomputers to power the metaverseThe company's RSC has comparable horsepower to the world's fifth fastest general-purpose supercomputer.

Meta, the tech giant previously known as Facebook, revealed Monday that it's built one of the world's fastest supercomputers, a behemoth called the Research SuperCluster, or RSC. With 6,080 graphics processing units packaged into 760 Nvidia A100 modules, it's the fastest machine built for AI tasks, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg says.

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That processing power is in the same league as the Perlmutter supercomputer, which uses more than 6,000 of the same Nvidia GPUs and currently ranks as the world's fifth fastest supercomputer. And in a second phase, Meta plans to boost performance by a factor of 2.5 with an expansion to 16,000 GPUs this year.

Meta will use RSC for a host of research projects that require next-level performance, such as "multimodal" AI that bases conclusions on a combination of sound, imagery and actions instead of just one type of input data. That could be helpful for dealing with the subtleties of one of Facebook's big issues, spotting harmful content.

Meta, a top AI researcher, hopes the investment will pay off by using RSC to help build out the company's latest priority: the virtual realm it calls the metaverse. RSC could be powerful enough to simultaneously translate speech for a large group of individuals who each speak a different language.

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"The experiences we're building for the metaverse require enormous compute power," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "RSC will enable new AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, understand hundreds of languages and more."

When it comes to one of the top uses of AI — training an AI system to recognize what's in a photo — RSC is about 20 times faster than its earlier 2017-era Nvidia machine, Meta researchers Kevin Lee and Shubho Sengupta said in a blog post. For decoding human speech, it's about three times faster.

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