Nvidia to build Israel's most potent AI supercomputer

Nvidia is developing Israel's most powerful AI supercomputer, Israel-1, expected to boost AI applications, with a focus on its Israeli partners and potential to expand partnerships globally.
Daniel Lehewych
Chip from Nvidia
Chip from Nvidia

"Nvidia@16nm@Pascal@GP100@Tesla_P100@T_Taiwan_1912A1_PN9G70.S6W_GP100-897-A1___DSCx04_topmetal@50xBF" by FritzchensFritz is marked with CC0 1.0.

Nvidia, the world's top-ranking chip firm, is pouring hundreds of millions into building Israel's most powerful artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer, Israel-1. This move comes as a response to a surge in demand for AI applications, as per the company's announcement on Monday.

Set to be partly operational by year-end 2023, Israel-1 is expected to deliver up to eight exaflops of AI computing, placing it among the fastest AI supercomputers worldwide. Putting that into perspective, a single exaflop can perform a quintillion - that's 18 zeros - calculations every second.


According to Gilad Shainer, a senior vice president at Nvidia, this supercomputer will be a boon to the thriving AI scene in Israel. He stated that Nvidia collaborates with 800 startups nationwide, engaging tens of thousands of software engineers.

"AI is the most important technology in our lifetime," Shainer told Reuters. However, he emphasized the crucial role of large graphics processing units (GPUs) in developing AI and generative AI applications. "Generative AI is going everywhere nowadays. So you need to be able to run training on large datasets," he added.

With Israel-1, Israeli companies will have access to a supercomputer resource currently unavailable. This powerful system is expected to expedite training, facilitating the creation of frameworks and solutions that can handle more complex issues.

ChatGPT by OpenAI, as an example, was developed using thousands of Nvidia GPUs. This AI, noted for its conversational prowess, is a testament to the scale of projects that can be realized when leveraging powerful computing resources.

The development of the Israel-1 system was carried out by the former Mellanox team, an Israeli chip designer firm Nvidia acquired in 2019 for nearly $7 billion, outpacing Intel Corp.

While the primary focus for the new supercomputer is Nvidia's Israeli partners, the company isn't ruling out extending its reach. Shainer revealed, "We may use this system to work with partners outside of Israel down the road."

In related news, Nvidia announced a partnership with Britain's University of Bristol last week. They're collaborating to build a new supercomputer powered by a novel Nvidia chip. This move positions Nvidia as a competitor to chip giants Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

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