Swede-sational: Linköping University to Build Country’s Fastest AI Supercomputer

by Carlo Ruiz

The land famed for its midsummer festivities and everyone’s favorite flatpack furniture store is about to add another jewel to its crown.

Linköping University, home to 36,000 staff and students, has announced its plans to build Sweden’s fastest AI supercomputer, based on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD computing infrastructure.

Carrying the name of renowned Swedish scientist Jacob Berzelius — considered to be one of the founders of modern chemistry — the new BerzeLiUs supercomputer will deliver 300 petaflops of AI performance to power state-of-the-art AI research and deep learning models.

The effort is spearheaded by a 300 million Swedish Krona ($33.6 million) donation from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation to accelerate Swedish AI research across academia and industry. The foundation heads the Wallenberg Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) network — the country’s largest private research initiative focused on AI innovation.

“I am extremely happy and proud that Linköping University will, through the National Supercomputer Centre, be host for this infrastructure”, says Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, vice-chancellor of Linköping University. “This gives us confidence that Sweden is not simply maintaining its international position, but also strengthening it.”

A Powerful New AI Resource

Hosting world-class supercomputers is nothing new for the team at Linköping University.

The Swedish National Supercomputer Center (NSC) already houses six traditional supercomputers on campus, with a combined total of 6 petaflops of performance. Included among these is Tetralith, which held the title of the most powerful supercomputer in the Nordics after its installation in 2018.

But with BerzeLiUs the team is making a huge leap.

“BerzeLiUs will be more than twice as fast as Tetralith,” confirmed Niclas Andersson, technical director at NSC. “This is a super-fast AI resource — the fastest computing cluster we have ever installed.”

The powerful new AI resource will boost collaboration between academia and leading Swedish industrial companies, primarily those financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, such as the Wallenberg Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) as well as other life science and quantum technology initiatives.

Full Speed Ahead

Building a leading AI supercomputer usually can take years of planning and development. But by building BerzeLiUs with NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD technology, Linköping will be able to deploy the fully integrated system and start running complex AI models as the new year begins.

The system will be built and installed by Atos. Initially, the supercomputer will consist of 60 NVIDIA DGX A100 systems interconnected across an NVIDIA Mellanox InfiniBand fabric and 1.5 petabytes of high-performance storage from DDN. BerzeLiUs will also feature the Atos Codex AI Suite, enabling researchers to speed up processing times on their complex data.

“This new supercomputer will supercharge AI research in Sweden,” said Jaap Zuiderveld, vice president for EMEA at NVIDIA. “It will position Sweden as a leader in academic research, and it will give Swedish businesses a competitive edge in telecommunications, design, drug development, manufacturing and more industries.”

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