Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced that it’s building the world’s most powerful supercomputer to power the metaverse.
The AI Research Super Cluster (RSC) is Meta’s cutting-edge supercomputer for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.
Ultimately, it’s expected to play a vital role in Meta’s vision to build technologies for the next major computing platform — the metaverse.
‘Developing the next generation of advanced AI will require powerful new computers capable of quintillions [thousand raised to the power of six] of operations per second,’ said Meta in a statement.
Meta’s RSC is among the fastest AI supercomputers functioning and will be the fastest AI supercomputer in the world when it’s fully built out in mid-2022.
Currently, the most powerful supercomputer is known as Fugaku, manufactured by Fujitsu, at the Riken Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan.
Five of the world’s top 10 most poswerful supercomputers are in the US, manufactured respectively by IBM, HP, Nvidia and Microsoft.
What does Meta intend to do with the most powerful supercomputer?
RSC will help Meta’s AI researchers build new and better AI models that can ‘learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyse text, images, and video together; develop new augmented reality tools’.
Meta’s researchers have already started using RSC to train large models in natural language processing (NLP) to understand more languages, dialects, and accents.
Meta wants to use RSC to build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together.
The supercomputer will enable speech recognition even in challenging scenarios with lots of background noise, such as parties or concerts.
In early 2020, Meta decided to design a new computing infrastructure from scratch to train models with more than a trillion parameters on data sets as large as an exabyte, which is equal to 36,000 years of high-quality video.
Using RSC, Meta hopes to improve its user interface into identifying harmful content on its platforms.
RSC’s development like most things in the past two years has been hindered by the pandemic and the worldwide chip shortage due to supply chain issues.
Mark Zuckerberg wants us all to work and play in the metaverse and this supercomputer will help in creating more accurate AI models for Meta’s existing services while enabling completely new user experiences in the metaverse.
What is the metaverse?
Mark Zuckerberg believes something called the ‘metaverse’ isn’t just the future of Facebook, but also the future of the internet.
So much so, that Facebook has recently rebranded its parent company as Meta.
This new umbrella company will oversee not just Facebook but also WhatsApp, Instagram and, crucially, Oculus.
It’s integral to the idea of the metaverse because Zuckerberg believes we’ll all be using virtual reality headsets to teleport ourselves into a virtual space where we’ll work, play and communicate with others.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook has been working on this since well before the pandemic hit. But with Covid-19 accelerating our reliance on tech to communicate and work together, the idea may not be as silly as you’d first assume.