UF will house the fastest AI supercomputer in higher education
The University of Florida has announced a public-private partnership with NVIDIA that will catapult UF’s research strength to address some of the world’s most formidable challenges, create unprecedented access to AI training and tools for underrepresented communities, and build momentum for transforming the future of the workforce.
The initiative is anchored by a $50 million gift — $25 million from UF alumnus Chris Malachowsky and $25 million in hardware, software, training and services from NVIDIA, the Silicon Valley-based technology company he cofounded and a world leader in AI and accelerated computing.
Along with an additional $20 million investment from UF, the initiative will create an AI-centric data center that houses the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in higher education. Working closely with NVIDIA, UF will boost the capabilities of its existing supercomputer, HiPerGator, with the recently announced NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD™ architecture. This will give faculty and students within and beyond UF the tools to apply AI across a multitude of areas to improve lives, bolster industry, and create economic growth across the state.
UF’s National AI Leadership
The partnership will be central to UF’s vision to be a national leader in the application of AI, including an expansive plan to elevate its reach and impact in research, teaching, and economic development. It provides a replicable framework for future public-private cooperation, and a model for addressing society’s grand challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration. By deploying AI across the curriculum, this powerful resource will address major challenges such as rising seas, aging populations, data security, personalized medicine, urban transportation and food insecurity.
“UF’s leadership has a bold vision for making artificial intelligence accessible across its campus,” said Malachowsky, who serves as an NVIDIA Fellow. “What really got NVIDIA and me excited was partnering with UF to go broader still, and make AI available to K‑12 students, state and community colleges, and businesses. This will help address underrepresented communities and sectors across the region where the technology could have a profound positive effect.”
Extensive Collaboration with NVIDIA
NVIDIA’s technology powers two-thirds of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, including eight of the top 10. The third-generation HiPerGator will have access to NVIDIA’s most advanced AI software and integrate 140 NVIDIA DGX™ A100 systems with 1,120 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and high-performance NVIDIA Mellanox HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking to deliver 700 petaflops of AI performance.
“Artificial intelligence is the most powerful technology force of our time,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “Fueled by data and machine learning, AI is advancing at an exponential pace, impacting every industry from healthcare to transportation to the sciences. Through their generosity and vision, Chris and UF are providing a mighty foundation for students and faculty to harness this technology and drive discovery.”
UF is the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to receive DGX A100 systems, which are designed to accelerate diverse workloads, including AI training, inference, and data analytics.
NVIDIA will also contribute its AI expertise to UF through ongoing support and collaboration across the following initiatives:
- The NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute will collaborate with UF on developing new curriculum and coursework for both students and the community, including programing tuned to address the needs of young adults and teens to encourage their interest in STEM and AI, better preparing them for future educational and employment opportunities.
- UF will become the site of the latest NVIDIA AI Technology Center, where UF Graduate Fellows and NVIDIA employees will work together to advance AI.
- NVIDIA solution architects and product engineers will partner with UF on the installation, operation and optimization of the NVIDIA-based supercomputing resources on campus, including the latest AI software applications.
As a comprehensive institution, UF has a goal of bringing together students and faculty from across campus—and across the state. It will be among the nation’s first to integrate AI across all disciplines and make it a ubiquitous part of its academic enterprise. It will offer certificates and degree programs in AI and data science, with curriculum modules for specific technical and industry-focused domains. The initiative includes a commitment from UF to hire 100 more faculty members focused on AI. They will join 500 new faculty recently added across disciplines — many of whom will weave AI into their teaching and research.
“More than ever before in my lifetime, people around the country and the globe are looking to universities to expand access to higher education and technology and to level the field of opportunity for all,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “UF intends to meet that challenge, and this partnership will help us do it.”
Within UF Health, UF’s robust academic health center, AI systems are being deployed to monitor patient conditions in real time, making it the first health system to use deep-learning technology to generate patient viability data. Through a novel system known as DeepSOFA, Dr. Azra Bihorac and her team use AI systems to collect and organize a patient’s medical data so that doctors can make better-informed decisions. DeepSOFA is but one example of how AI technology will be put to use to bolster research and improve patient care at UF Health.
To ensure no community is left behind, UF plans to promote wide accessibility to these computing capabilities and work with other institutions to develop a talent pipeline able to harness the power of AI through several initiatives. These include:
- Establishing UF’s Equitable AI program, led by Dr. Juan Gilbert, Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering. The effort is convening faculty members across the university to create standards and certifications in developing tools and solutions that are cognizant of bias, unethical practice and legal and moral issues.
- Creating partnerships with industry and other academic groups, such as the Inclusive Engineering Consortium, whose students will work with members to conduct research and recruitment to UF graduate programs. The effort is led by HWCOE faculty member Dr. Damon Woodard. UF will also partner with these institutions to provide training in AI.
“This initiative will allow us to recruit and equip a diverse, talented cadre of faculty and students across multiple disciplines and bring them together with colleagues from government and the private sector to find solutions to our most important problems,” said Dr. Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.
University officials expect the announcement will spark additional excitement among others who have significant resources and abilities related to AI, and reaffirmed their commitment to serve as a catalyst for those who wish to step up and join in this amazing adventure.