Alps: the new CSCS supercomputer


Institutional Communication Service

17 May 2021

The tuning of Alps, the world’s most powerful supercomputer for artificial intelligence, has been announced in recent weeks by the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NVIDIA.

As anticipated by the press release, “Planned to come online in 2023, the “Alps” system infrastructure will replace CSCS’s existing Piz Daint supercomputer and serve as a general-purpose system open to the broad community of researchers in Switzerland and the rest of the world”.

It will enable breakthrough research on a wide range of fields, including climate and weather, materials sciences, astrophysics, computational fluid dynamics, life sciences, molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry and particle physics, and domains like economics and social sciences.

This new supercomputer will be able to train GPT-3, one of the world’s largest natural language processing model, in just two days, which is seven times faster than NVIDIA’s 2.8-AI exaflops Selene supercomputer, currently recognised as the world’s leading supercomputer for AI.

Alps will enable users at the Swiss Center for Scientific Computing to apply artificial intelligence to a wide range of emerging scientific research. For example, analysing and understanding massive amounts of knowledge available in scientific papers and generating new molecules for drug discovery.

“Research in the areas of artificial intelligence, life sciences, and computational energy is booming at USI,” emphasises Rolf Krause, Full Professor at USI and Director of the Euler Institute. “In the new Euler Institute, which focuses on interdisciplinary research, we work with the Swiss Center for Scientific Computing and Cardiocentro in the field of computational cardiology and with the IRB in the field of computational biomedicine. Without forgetting the new SNSF projects, which use and combine USI’s mathematical competencies to advance artificial intelligence using the CSCS supercomputers. Finally, together with ETH and CSCS, we are also working on renewable energy.”