Facebook's parent company Meta on Monday revealed that it has created what it believes is among the fastest artificial intelligence supercomputers running today.
"Today we're introducing the AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which we believe is among the fastest AI supercomputers running today and will be the fastest in the world once fully built out in mid-2022," Meta said in a statement on Monday.
The social media giant said it hopes the machine will help lay the groundwork for its building of the metaverse, a virtual reality construct intended to supplant the Internet as we know it today.
Meta did not disclose where the computer is located or how much it is costing to build.
The computer, which is already up and running but is still being built, is called AI Research SuperCluster. The company says RSC will help researchers develop better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples. Among other things, the models will be able to build better augmented reality tools and "seamlessly analyze text, images and video together," according to Meta. Much of this work is in service of its vision for the metaverse, in which it says AI-powered apps and products will have a key role.
The way Meta is defining the power of its computer is different from how conventional and more technically powerful supercomputers are measured because it relies on the performance of graphics-processing chips, which are useful for running "deep learning" algorithms that can understand what's in an image, analyse text, and translate between languages, said Tuomas Sandholm, a computer science professor and co-director of the AI center at Carnegie Mellon University.
"We hope RSC will help us 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," Meta said in a blog post.
The company said its supercomputer will incorporate "real-world examples" from its own systems into training its AI. It says its previous efforts used only open-source and other publicly available data sets.