In Brief
  • Chip and graphics card maker Nvidia has debuted the DGX SaturnV, an ultra efficient in-house supercomputer that now ranks among the world's 500 most powerful computers.
  • The SaturnV demonstrates the growing market among well-funded technology companies for in-house supercomputers that aren't managed by governments or universities.

When technologists think of “supercomputer” they usually imagine government-owned computers like China’s TaihuLight or public-private partnerships like the DOE-IBM’s planned Summit. Private in-house supercomputers are much rarer.

That makes Nvidia’s new supercomputer, the DGX SaturnV, even more surprising. Not only has Nvidia revealed its own supercomputer, but the machine cracked TOP500’s list of the 500 most powerful computers and took the number one spot as the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputer.

The DGX SaturnV has 63,488GB of RAM and 60,512 Intel Xeon E5-2698v4 CPU cores. It relies on numerous Nvidia’s 125 DGX-1s, the “AI supercomputer in a box” units built for deep learning. It also uses the company’s Tesla P100 GPUs.

Nvidia
The supercomputer contains numerous Nvidia 125 DGX-1 units linked together. Image Credit: Nvidia

The machine delivers 9.46 gigaflops/watt, making it 42 percent more energy efficient than the most efficient supercomputer on TOP500’s June list.

Nvidia is banking on SaturnV’s AI and deep learning capabilities for in-house offerings and is training neural networks on the intricacies of chipset designs to build more powerful and more efficient GPUs.

Nvidia has already attracted big SaturnV clients such as enterprise software giant SAP, research groups like OpenAI, and startups like BenevolentAI.