Meta is building the fastest supercomputer in the world (to plug us into the Metaverse)

For now Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, the online space exploded with some pretty polarized opinions on the issue. The plan behind this move isn’t crystal clear at this time, but it looks like Facebook wants to create a virtual 3D version of the internet (capital letter needed).

Today, Facebook has just under 3 billion monthly active users, and it would take enormous computing power to plug them all into a virtual reality environment. The news that the company is trying to build the world’s fastest supercomputer fits the general idea well.

To the news in question – Meta has completed the first phase of its new AI supercomputer project. The machine’s name is AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) and when it’s fully finished later this year, Meta believes it will be the fastest supercomputer on the planet.

What can RSC do?

This new RSC machine will be able to perform floating point calculations with 5 exaflops (about 1,000,000,000 times faster than a classic gaming PC). Meta wants to use all that power to develop AI algorithms that can learn from billions of examples.

Another potential use for this supercomputer is building better augmented reality tools, as the machine will be able to “seamlessly analyze text, images and video together”. According to Meta, this will be a key pillar in the company’s vision for its Metaverse. project.

“We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, provide real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can collaborate in a meaningful way. transparent about a research project or playing an AR game together,” technical program manager Kevin Lee and software engineer Shubho Sengupta wrote in a blog post.

RSC will also be used to detect hate speech and harmful content (likely on Facebook and Instagram) and remove it. AI can be trained to do this with great efficiency, according to Meta.

And after?

The first stage of the RSC project is now complete and the machine is operational. At its current stage, the supercomputer has 760 Nvidia DGX A100 systems with a total of 6,080 graphics processing units.

This configuration is already faster than many supercomputers, but Meta plans to increase the number of GPUs in RSC to 16,000. This next step will increase system performance by about 2.5 times and allow the computer to work on exabyte-sized chunks (1 exabyte equals 36,000 years of high-quality video).

“We expect that such a step-by-step change in computing capacity will not only allow us to create more accurate AI models for our existing services, but also enable completely new user experiences, especially in the metaverse”, Lee and Sengupta wrote.

What is meta?

Facebook’s rebranding to Meta was officially showcased during Facebook Connect on October 28, 2021. Zuckerberg presented the change with a very futuristic undertone.“In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without moving, at a concert with friends or in your parents’ living room to catch up”, Zuckerberg written in a letter.

It’s possible, however, that Facebook wanted a fresh start after numerous security breaches, whistleblowers, and leaks. The company has been under intense scrutiny since the The Cambridge Analytica affair has come to light.

At the moment, there’s not much behind this rebranding – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all operating as before, and the parent company doesn’t seem to be changing too much structurally.

It remains to be seen if the Metaverse plan will come to fruition and if we will experience the blockbuster movie The Matrix first hand.

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