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'Artificial Intelligence SuperComputer' coming to Case Western Reserve University

As a result of the system, more researchers will be able to manipulate larger amounts of data simultaneously and quickly.

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University is taking significant strides to enhance research across its campus.

More than 250 researchers from nearly two dozen research groups will benefit from a new effort at the school that involves a new faster and larger computing power of "Artificial Intelligence SuperComputer" (AISC). In the summer of 2022, the $1 million computer system is expected to be installed.

According to Vpin Chaudhary, the Kevin J. Kranzusch Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer and Data Sciences at Case, this will be the university's largest and "far more powerful than anything university researchers had access to before."

The institution's data center will be home to at least five refrigerator-sized computers that will accelerate machine learning and artificial intelligence by at least 10 times the speed, according to Chaudhary. As a result of the products, more researchers will be able to manipulate larger amounts of data simultaneously and quickly.

The effort comes after Chaudhary secured external funding for the AISC from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education Action Fund. Case Western Reserve also funded an undisclosed amount of money for the project.

Some of the features of the new system include:

  • The latest and fastest graphic processing units
  • Higher bandwidth memory
  • High-speed connections
  • A key component known as "Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe)-based storage."

A CWRU alum and current vice president of the company that invented the GPU, Kranzusch contributed $5 million to the commitment in 2019, spurring the department’s creation. He released the following statement:

Congratulations to the entire university community, especially the students, for gaining access to such a powerful tool to explore the uses of AI and High Performance Computing in their fields. I am certain that the collaboration and rigor that CWRU is known for will only be enhanced with the addition of this important asset."

While in the research stage, Chaudhary surveyed dozens of Case faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, Ph.D. students and graduate and undergraduate students to understand what would help them deepen their studies.

As a result, the researchers said that they were in need of more computing power for a wide variety of topics.

"To solve large problems and to create solutions that will have an impact, you have to have the infrastructure to do the work," Chaudhary said. "I believe this will boost a lot of ongoing research and enable a lot of new work."

The original 250 people he surveyed and included in the NSF grant proposal will have access to the new computers first. Any university faculty member also will be able to request access by filling out a form that asks for a description of the proposed research and expected use requirements.

This new acquisition will give "researchers the power to explore further and faster than ever before, and will prove catalytic in advancing breakthroughs in disciplines across the university," said Venkataramanan "Ragu" Balakrishnan, the Charles H. Phipps Dean of the Case School of Engineering. "From advancing cancer detection to analyzing the deterioration of nuclear materials, artificial intelligence and supercomputing are at the core of our most innovative initiatives."

The project also looks to focus on advanced computing power. In the fall of 2021, Kranzusch doubled his commitment to the department with a second $5 million gift.

When Chaudhary came to Case Western, one of his main goals was to bring advanced computing power to the School of Engineering. Aside from his work at Case Western Reserve, he is helping lead a new $20 million Artificial Intelligence institute at the Ohio State University.

Case Western Reserve is now partnering alongside OSU, Indiana University and a dozen other schools to work towards bringing more AI to the next generation of people.