Facebook builds AI supercomputer to power metaverse
The social media firm’s parent company, Meta, claims the AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) will support the company’s ambition to create the metaverse, part of Mark Zuckerburg’s longer-term business plan.
The RSC is already partially up and running, but the company did not share a location for the machine. Once it is fully complete later this year, it will be the fastest supercomputer of its kind, according to Meta.
The fully-formed RSC will be powered by 16,000 Nvidia A100 GPUs, collected into compute nodes, and hooked up using the latest InfiniBand interconnect fabric. It will also feature memory from PureStorage, capable of housing up to an exabyte of data
Meta says it will help its AI researchers build “new and better” artificial intelligence models that can learn from “trillions” of examples and work across hundreds of different languages simultaneously and analyse text, images, and video together.
“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.
Facebook also said the supercomputer would enable it “to enable completely new user experiences, especially in the metaverse”.
Although the firm offered no specifics as to what these new metaverse experiences might include, CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed a similar sentiment in a recent Facebook post.
“The experiences we’re building for the metaverse require enormous compute power (quintillions of operations/second) and RSC will enable new AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, understand hundreds of languages and more,” he said.
It comes as Facebook looks to be the dominant player in the growing metaverse market. The concept of a “metaverse” – an entirely digital world with a functioning economy persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe has often been labelled as the next evolution of the internet, after it was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash.
In a Founders’ Letter released when Facebook rebranded as Meta, Zuckerberg set out his vision, explaining: “The metaverse will not be created by one company. It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies.”
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter