The virtual keynote, which led with Fisher talking about gaming and then NVIDIA’s Manuvir Das, head of enterprise computing, talking about AI and enterprise platforms (see wrapup, here), began by highlighting NVIDIA’s deep ties to Taiwan.
Deep Roots in Taiwan
Fisher announced the release of a mod — one of thousands for the hyperrealistic flight simulator — paying tribute to Taipei.
“We miss Taipei and wish we could be there in person for COMPUTEX,” Fisher said. “So we created Taipei City in Microsoft Flight Sim and flew in virtually on a GeForce RTX 3080.”
The callout was a tribute to NVIDIA’s many close partners in Taiwan, including Acer, AOC, ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI and Palit.
COMPUTEX is also a key gathering point for partners from around the world, including Alienware, Colorful, Dell, EVGA, Gainward, Galax, HP, Inno3D, Lenovo, PNY, Razer, ViewSonic and Zotac.
“It’s always great to talk directly to our partners, and this year we have a lot to talk about,” Fisher said.
GeForce Partners in Every Category
Throughout his talk, Fisher highlighted NVIDIA’s close ties to partners in Taiwan — and throughout the world — in gaming laptops, desktop GPUs, studio laptops and G-SYNC displays.
Thanks to decades of work with partners, gaming laptops are thriving, and Fisher spotlighted six GeForce RTX laptops from Acer, Dell and HP.
This year brought a record launch for RTX laptops, with over 140 models from every manufacturer.
Starting at $799 and featuring Max-Q, a collection of NVIDIA technologies for making gaming laptops thinner, lighter and more powerful, “there is now an RTX laptop for every gamer,” Fisher said.
Highlighting one example, Fisher announced the Alienware x15, an ultra-thin, GeForce RTX 3080 laptop.
Powered by Max-Q technologies including Dynamic Boost 2.0, WhisperMode 2.0 and Advanced Optimus, and featuring a 1440p display, “it is the world’s most powerful sub-16mm 15-inch gaming laptop,” Fisher said.
In the desktop category, the RTX family of desktop GPUs gets a new flagship gaming GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, and the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti.
NVIDIA partners announced 98 new desktop GPU products, with 11 key partners announcing new RTX 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti desktop graphics cards.
With second-generation RT Cores and third-generation Tensor Cores, the NVIDIA Ampere architecture is “our greatest generational leap ever,” Fisher said. “The 80 Ti class of GPUs represents the best of our gaming lineup.”
For 3D designers, video editors and photographers, NVIDIA developed NVIDIA Studio. These are specially configured systems, optimized and tested for creator workflows, and supported with a monthly cadence of Studio drivers, Fisher said.
NVIDIA partners announced 8 new Studio products, including six ConceptD laptops from Acer and two laptops from HP.
The 14-inch HP Envy brings the capabilities of RTX to an ultra-portable laptop that’s “great for students and creators on the go,” Fisher said.
The new Acer ConceptD offers a variety of traditional clamshell options and an Ezel sketch board design to give creators even more flexibility, Fisher said.
In displays, NVIDIA partners announced five new G-SYNC products. They included two G-SYNC ULTIMATE displays and three G-SYNC displays from Acer, MSI and ViewSonic.
“G-SYNC introduced stutter-free gaming,” Fisher said. “With over 20 trillion buttery-smooth pixels now shipped once you game with G-SYNC, there is no turning back.”
The spate of announcements — highlighted in Fisher’s keynote — are being celebrated throughout the week at COMPUTEX.
Acer, Alienware, and MSI all had special digital activations to support their new products.
“Thanks to all our partners who are just as excited as we are about reinventing this market, and are joining us in the next major leap forward,” Fisher said.
Microsoft Azure has announced the general availability of the ND A100 v4 VM series, their most powerful virtual machines for supercomputer-class AI and HPC workloads, powered by NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand.
When solving grand challenges in AI and HPC, scale is everything. Natural language processing, recommendation systems, healthcare research, drug discovery and energy, among other areas, have all seen tremendous progress enabled by accelerated computing.
Much of that progress has come from applications operating at massive scale. To accelerate this trend, applications need to run on architecture that is flexible, accessible and can both scale up and scale out.
The ND A100 v4 VM brings together eight NVIDIA A100 GPUs in a single VM with the NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand that enables 200Gb/s data bandwidth per GPU. That’s a massive 1.6 Tb/s of interconnect bandwidth per VM.
And, for the most demanding AI and HPC workloads, these can be further scaled out to thousands of NVIDIA A100 GPUs under the same low-latency InfiniBand fabric, delivering both the compute and networking capabilities for multi-node distributed computing.
Ready for Developers
Developers have multiple options to get the most performance out of the NVIDIA A100 GPUs in the ND A100 v4 VM for their applications, both for application development and managing infrastructure once those applications are deployed.
To simplify and speed up development, the NVIDIA NGC catalog offers ready-to-use GPU-optimized application frameworks, containers, pre-trained models, libraries, SDKs and Helm charts. With the prebuilt NVIDIA GPU-optimized Image for AI and HPC on the Azure Marketplace, developers can get started with GPU-accelerated software from the NGC catalog with just a few clicks.
The ND A100 v4 VMs are also supported in the Azure Machine Learning service for interactive AI development, distributed training, batch inferencing and automation with ML Ops.
Deploying machine learning pipelines in production with ND A100 v4 VMs is further simplified using the NVIDIA Triton Inference Server, an open-source inference serving application that’s integrated with Azure ML to maximize both GPU and CPU performance and utilization to help minimize the operational costs of deployment.
Developers and infrastructure managers will soon also be able to use Azure Kubernetes Service, a fully managed Kubernetes service to deploy and manage containerized applications on the ND A100 v4 VMs, with NVIDIA A100 GPUs.
Learn more about the ND A100 v4 VMs on Microsoft Azure and get started with building innovative solutions on the cloud.
The streaming device with the most 4K HDR content available now has even more as Apple TV joins the lineup on NVIDIA SHIELD.
Starting today, SHIELD owners can stream the Apple TV app, including Apple TV+, and its impressive lineup of award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ shows, comedies and more.
The Apple TV app features Apple TV+, Apple’s video subscription service featuring Apple Originals, including series like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, For All Mankind and Servant; as well as movies like Greyhound, Palmer and Wolfwalkers. With SHIELD TV, they can be enjoyed in stunning Dolby Vision — a combination that offers beautiful 4K HDR picture quality with remarkable colors, sharper contrasts and incredible brightness. Dolby Atmos is also supported, unlocking richer and more immersive sound. Together, they deliver the best possible cinematic experience.
Apple TV channels are also on the Apple TV app, such as AMC+, Paramount+ and Starz, and watch ad-free and on demand, directly on the Apple TV app. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share subscriptions to Apple TV channels using their personal Apple ID and password. And you can enjoy personalized and curated recommendations and access your library of movies and shows purchased from Apple.
Apple TV also works with the built-in Google Assistant on SHIELD for hands-free control of your entertainment. Use simple voice commands to pause, rewind, fast-forward and more.
To search for content using voice, say “Hey Google,” or press the microphone button, and call out a genre or specific show you’d like to watch. New Apple Originals arrive every month, so there’s always something binge-worthy to watch.
SHIELD is the faster, smarter streaming media player. It’s built on Android TV and supported by industry-leading software updates, includes the latest audio and visual technology and offers the most 4K HDR movies and shows.
With HBO Max delivering new 4K HDR Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos cinematic releases every month and YouTube TV adding more channels and live sports from Hulu, there’s never been a better time to pick up a SHIELD TV.
This includes those who like to game before they watch: For a limited time, get a three-month GeForce NOW Priority Membership with the purchase of a SHIELD TV. GeForce NOW instantly transforms SHIELD TVs — plus PCs, Macs, Chromebooks or mobile devices — into the PC gaming rigs gamers have long dreamed of.
Das, head of enterprise computing, announced that dozens of new servers are certified to run NVIDIA AI Enterprise software, marking a rapid expansion of the NVIDIA-Certified Systems program, which has grown to include more than 50 systems from the world’s leading manufacturers.
The joint keynote began with a flourish, with Fisher announcing a unique Microsoft Flight Simulator mod paying tribute to Taipei. “We miss Taipei and wish we could be there in person for COMPUTEX,” Fisher said. “So we created Taipei City in Microsoft Flight Sim and flew in virtually on a GeForce RTX 3080.”
New Gaming Flagship, New Laptops, RTX Momentum
Fisher began the talk by touching on how gaming has transformed entertainment. NVIDIA RTX technologies are changing everything, not just for gamers, but for 150 million creators, broadcasters and students, Fisher explained.
RTX accelerates the No. 1 photography app, the No. 1 video editing app and the No. 1 broadcast app. For gamers, RTX is powering the No. 1 battle royale, the No. 1 RPG and the No. 1 best-selling game of all time. Soon 12 of the top 15 competitive shooters will feature NVIDIA Reflex, with the addition of Escape from Tarkov, CrossFire HD and War Thunder, Fisher said.
And GeForce laptops are the fastest-growing gaming platform for such experiences. It’s a platform now fueled top to bottom by RTX, third-generation Max-Q technologies and the magic of DLSS, which uses AI-powered Tensor Cores to boost frame rates.
This year brought a record launch for RTX laptops, with over 140 models from every manufacturer. Starting at $799 and featuring Max-Q, a collection of NVIDIA technologies for making gaming laptops thinner, lighter and more powerful, “there is now an RTX laptop for every gamer,” Fisher said.
Highlighting an example of that work, Fisher announced the Alienware x15, an ultra-thin, GeForce RTX 3080 laptop. Powered by Max-Q technologies including Dynamic Boost 2.0, WhisperMode 2.0 and Advanced Optimus, and featuring a 1440p display, “it is the world’s most powerful sub-16mm 15-inch gaming laptop,” Fisher said.
For 3D designers, video editors and photographers, NVIDIA developed NVIDIA Studio. These are specially configured systems, optimized and tested for creator workflows, and supported with a monthly cadence of Studio Drivers, Fisher said.
Fisher announced a pair of new Studio laptops from HP and Acer. The 14-inch HP Envy brings the capabilities of RTX to an ultra-portable laptop that’s “great for students and creators on the go,” Fisher said. The new Acer ConceptD offers a variety of traditional clamshell options and an Ezel sketch board design to give creators even more flexibility, Fisher said.
Based on the NVIDIA Ampere architecture, with second-generation RT Cores and third-generation Tensor Cores, Ampere is “our greatest generational leap ever,” Fisher said. “The 80 Ti class of GPUs represents the best of our gaming lineup.”
The GPU comes as the production value of games continues to march forward, Fisher explained. “New titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs: Legion have elevated realism, demanding even more of the GPU,” he said.
Fisher said the RTX 3080 Ti is 1.5x faster than its predecessor and tears through the latest games with all the settings cranked up. And the RTX 3070 Ti is 1.5x faster than a 2070 SUPER, thanks to more cores and superfast GDDR6X memory.
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti availability will begin on June 3, starting at $1,199. GeForce RTX 3070 Ti availability begins on June 10, starting at $599.
“Every person born today is a gamer,” Fisher said. “We have an amazing future ahead, and we look forward to building it with all of you.”
‘AI for Every Company’
Following Fisher, Das spoke in detail about the three essential ingredients built by NVIDIA: the hardware foundation from which to make any system, the software platform for artificial intelligence and the software platform for collaborative design.
“It is time to democratize AI by bringing its transformative power to every company and its customers,” Das said.
To help system manufacturers create AI-optimized designs and to ensure that the systems can be relied on by customers, NVIDIA made NVIDIA-Certified, a program for servers that incorporate GPU acceleration, Das explained.
Coming from Advantech, Altos, ASRock Rack, ASUS, Dell Technologies, GIGABYTE, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, QCT, Supermicro and others, the growing roster of NVIDIA-Certified Systems include some of the highest-volume x86 servers used in mainstream data centers. They bring the power of AI to a wide range of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, retail and financial services.
“Going forward, the DPU will be an essential component of every server, in the data center and at the edge,” Das said.
Das also announced the NVIDIA-Certified System program will expand to support accelerated systems with Arm-based host CPUs. In addition, along with NVIDIA partner GIGABYTE, Das announced a devkit can be used by application developers to prepare their GPU-accelerated apps for Arm.
“As the GPU and DPU accelerators take on more of the compute workload for AI, it becomes useful to view the host CPU as an orchestrator, more so than as the compute engine,” Das said.
Building on NVIDIA’s work to enable powerful GPU instances in the cloud, Das announced that Google Cloud is among the first cloud service providers planning to enable NVIDIA’s powerful Base Command Platform for the management and orchestration of clusters in their cloud instances.
The software is designed for large-scale, multi-user and multi-team AI development workflows hosted either on premises or in the cloud. It enables numerous researchers and data scientists to simultaneously work on accelerated computing resources, helping enterprises maximize the productivity of both their expert developers and their valuable AI infrastructure.
Das announced that Cloudera, a provider of Apache Spark to enterprise data centers around the world, will add transparent GPU acceleration using NVIDIA RAPIDS, a set of libraries that accelerate machine learning on GPUs. A fully integrated solution from Cloudera will be available starting this summer, with the release of CDP version 7.1.7, Das said.
Das also announced that NVIDIA will partner with leading global systems providers to offer NVIDIA Omniverse Enterprise, making it easy for teams to collaboratively design and simulate in 3D at $14,000 per year per company.
“Companies around the world and across industries are already using Omniverse to collaborate in amazing ways,” Das said.
And in security, Das announced that NVIDIA is working with Red Hat to provide Morpheus developer kits for both OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, the most commonly used version of commercial Linux in enterprise data centers today.
Morpheus, introduced at NVIDIA’s GTC conference earlier this year, uses machine learning to identify, capture and take action on threats and anomalies.
“Cybersecurity companies will now be able to use Morpheus on RHEL and OpenShift to bring advanced security to every enterprise data center,” Das said.
Das closed his COMPUTEX talk — which touched on the work of so many partners — on a note of gratitude to NVIDIA’s customers and partners throughout the industry.
“On behalf of my co-presenter Jeff Fisher, our CEO Jensen Huang and all of NVIDIA, thank you,” Das said. “Thank you for joining us today; thank you for being with us every step of the way; and thank you for continuing forward with us on this amazing journey.”
Content creators are getting a slew of new tools in their creative arsenal at COMPUTEX with the announcement of new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti GPUs. These GPUs deliver massive time savings for freelancers and creatives specializing in video editing, 3D animation or architectural visualization.
In addition, HP and Acer announced new NVIDIA Studio laptops with GeForce RTX 30 Series and NVIDIA RTX professional GPUs, including the latest 11th Gen Intel mobile processors.
Finally, the latest NVIDIA Omniverse app, Machinima, is now in beta, fully supported by the latest NVIDIA Studio drivers.
Expand Your Creative Arsenal
The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti GPUs deliver incredible leaps in performance and fidelity. The powerhouse 3080 Ti is ideal for high-end content creation thanks to its faster clocks and 12GB of superfast GDDR6X video memory.
The 3080 Ti shines in heavy-rendering workloads, where it can make full use of the NVIDIA Ampere architecture, including second-generation RT Cores and third generation Tensor Cores, as well as performance gains from NVIDIA DLSS, to get the job done fast. And it’s ideal for high-end video editing, especially 8K HDR RAW footage.
The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti turbocharges the popular RTX 3070 by giving it more CUDA cores and super-speedy GDDR6 video memory. Content creators will enjoy faster texture loading times, making the 3070 Ti a great choice for 3D rendering and video editing with up to 6K HDR RAW footage.
The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti will be available on June 3 starting at $1,199, and the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti will be available next week starting at $599.
More Studio Laptop Options for Content Creation
HP, Acer and MSI are offering new NVIDIA Studio laptops powered by the latest GeForce RTX 30 Series and NVIDIA RTX Professional GPUs, and the latest 11th Gen Intel mobile processors.
HP’s refreshed Envy 15 and Envy 14 feature elegant designs and fantastic, color-calibrated displays. For students and commuters, the Envy 14 packs the power of NVIDIA Studio in an ultra-portable creator laptop, powered with a GeForce RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti GPU. For creators who want more power, the Envy 15, which can include up to a GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, is perfect for video editing thanks to its larger display and video memory.
Acer is updating the ConceptD creator lineup with the new ConceptD 3 Ezel, the all-metal ConceptD 5 laptop and the ConceptD 7 Ezel flagship. The ConceptD 7 Ezel features up to a GeForce RTX 3080 and the Pro model up to an NVIDIA RTX A5000 Laptop GPU, and Acer’s patented adjustable 15.6-inch 4K PANTONE-validated touchscreen display. The lineup has a wide selection of GPU options for any type of creator, ranging from the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti up to RTX 3080, and with options for professional GPUs such as the NVIDIA RTX A5000.
MSI’s Creator Z16, Creator 17, WS66 and WS76 units have joined the NVIDIA Studio program. The Creator Z16 is an elegant and premium laptop powered by a GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU. It sports a striking postmodern design with a True Pixel display with QHD+ resolution, DCI-P3 100 percent color gamut, factory-calibrated Delta-E <2 out of the box accuracy.
Omniverse Machinima Now in Beta
Gaming has been an inspiration to digital creators and artists for decades. Machinima, an art form started in the ’90s, uses real-time 3D technologies with game assets, visual effects and character animation to create short, humorous clips, or full-length movies. Using the latest RTX technologies, NVIDIA built Omniverse Machinima, an application that lets people collaborate in real time and create amazing animated video game stories.
Creators can import their own game assets or draw from Omniverse’s growing library, including content from Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, Squad! and iconic NVIDIA tech demos. Advanced physics effects like destruction or fire can be applied with NVIDIA’s PhysX 5, Blast and Flow. Animate character movements using only a webcam with wrnch’s AI Pose and use simple audio tracks to animate character faces with Omniverse Audio2Face.
Upon completion, creators can access the Omniverse RTX Renderer for the highest quality output, enhanced with real-time ray tracing and referenced path tracing for interactive, bleeding-edge visuals.
Several of the world’s top server manufacturers today at COMPUTEX 2021 announced new systems powered by NVIDIA BlueField-2 data processing units. While systems with NVIDIA GPUs are already available now with the option of adding BlueField-2 DPUs, many applications and customer use cases may not require a GPU but can still benefit from a DPU.
The new servers from ASUS, Dell Technologies, GIGABYTE, QCT and Supermicro are ideal for enterprises seeking the additional performance, security and manageability that NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPUs offer.
Servers that primarily run software-defined networking (for example, a stateful load balancer or distributed firewall), software-defined storage or traditional enterprise applications will all benefit from the DPU’s ability to accelerate, offload and isolate infrastructure workloads for networking, security and storage.
Systems running VMware vSphere, Windows or hyperconverged infrastructure solutions also benefit from including a DPU, whether running AI and machine learning applications, graphics-intensive workloads or traditional business applications.
NVIDIA BlueField DPUs shift infrastructure tasks from the CPU to the DPU, making more server CPU cores available to run applications, which increases server and data center efficiency. The DPU places a “computer in front of the computer” for each server, delivering separate, secure infrastructure provisioning that is isolated from the server’s application domain. This allows agentless workload isolation, security isolation, storage virtualization, remote management and telemetry on both virtualized and bare-metal servers.
Customers and software makers can program BlueField DPUs easily using the NVIDIA DOCA SDK, the data-center-on-a-chip architecture that simplifies application development and ensures forward and backward compatibility with the NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPU, expected in 2022, and all future BlueField DPUs.
Enterprise customers are interested in deploying DPUs in many or even all of their data center servers. The availability of DPU-accelerated servers from leading system builders makes it simple and easy for customers to buy the market-leading BlueField-2 DPU pre-installed and pre-configured with their favorite servers.
BlueField-2 DPU-accelerated servers are expected this year, with several anticipated to submit to the NVIDIA-Certified Systems program when DPU server certification becomes available.
What’s a three-letter acronym for a “video-handling chip”? A GPU, of course. Who knew, though, that these parallel processing powerhouses could have a way with words, too.
Following a long string of victories for computers in other games — chess in 1997, go in 2016 and Texas hold’em poker in 2019 — a GPU-powered AI has beaten some of the world’s most competitive word nerds at the crossword puzzles that are a staple of every Sunday paper.
Dr.Fill, the crossword puzzle-playing AI created by Matt Ginsberg — a serial entrepreneur, pioneering AI researcher and former research professor — scored higher than any humans last month at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
Dr.Fill’s performance against more than 1,300 crossword enthusiasts comes after a decade of playing alongside humans through the annual tournament.
Such games, played competitively, test the limits of how computers think and better understand how people do, Ginsberg explains. “Games are an amazing environment,” he says.
Dr.Fill’s edge? A sophisticated neural network developed by UC Berkeley’s Natural Language Processing team — trained in just days on an NVIDIA DGX-1 system and deployed on a PC equipped with a pair of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPUs — that snapped right into the system Ginsberg had been refining for years.
“Crossword fills require you to make these creative multi-hop lateral connections with language,” says Professor Dan Klein, who leads the Natural Language Processing team. “I thought it would be a good test to see how the technology we’ve created in this field would handle that kind of creative language use.”
Given that unstructured nature, it’s amazing that a computer can compete at all. And to be sure, Dr.Fill still isn’t necessarily the best, and that’s not only because the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament’s official championship is reserved only for humans.
The contest’s organizer, New York Times Puzzle Editor Will Shortz, pointed out that Dr.Fill’s biggest advantage is speed: it can fill in answers in an instant that humans have to type out. Judged solely by accuracy, however, Dr.Fill still isn’t the best, making three errors during the contest, worse than several human contestants.
Nevertheless, Dr.Fill’s performance in a challenge that, unlike more structured games such as chess or go, rely so heavily on real-world knowledge and wordplay is remarkable, Shortz concedes.
“It’s just amazing they have programmed a computer to solve crosswords — especially some of the tricky hard ones,” Shortz said.
A Way with Words
Ginsberg, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Oxford and has 100 technical papers, 14 patents and multiple books to his name, has been a crossword fan since he attended college 45 years ago.
But his obsession took off when he entered a tournament more than a decade ago and didn’t win.
“‘The other competitors were so much better than I was, and it annoyed me, so I thought ‘Well, I should write a program,’ so I started Dr.Fill,” Ginsberg says.
Organized by Shortz, the American Crossword Tournament is packed with people who know their way around words.
Dr.Fill made its debut at the competition in 2012. Despite high expectations, Dr.Fill only managed to place 141st out of 600 contestants. Dr.Fill never managed a top 10 finish until this year.
In part, that’s because crosswords didn’t attract the kind of richly funded efforts that took on — and eventually beat — the best humans at chess and go.
It’s also partly because crossword puzzles are unique. “In go and chess and checkers, the rules are very clear,” Ginsberg says. “Crosswords are very interesting.”
Crossword puzzles often rely on cryptic clues that require deep cultural knowledge and an extensive vocabulary, as well as the ability to find answers that best slide into each puzzle’s overlapping rows and columns.
“It’s a messy thing,” Shortz said. “It’s not purely logical like chess or even like Scrabble, where you have a word list and every word is worth so many points.”
A Winning Combination
The game-changer? Help from the Natural Language Processing team. Inspired by his efforts, the team reached out to Ginsberg a month before the competition began.
It proved to be a triumphant combination.
The Berkeley team focused on understanding each puzzle’s often gnomic clues and finding potential answers. Klein’s team of three graduate students and two undergrads took the more than 6 million examples of crossword clues and answers that Ginsberg had collected and poured them into a sophisticated neural network.
Ginsberg’s software, refined over many years, then handled the task of ranking all the answers that fit the confines of each puzzle’s grid and fitting them in with overlapping letters from other answers — a classic constraint satisfaction problem.
While their systems relied on very different techniques, they both spoke the common language of probabilities. As a result, they snapped together almost perfectly.
“We quickly realized that we had very complementary pieces of the puzzle,” Klein said.
Together, their models parallel some of the ways people think, Klein says. Humans make decisions by either remembering what worked in the past or using a model to simulate of what might work in the future.
“I get excited when I see systems that do some of both,” Klein said.
The result of combining both approaches: Dr.Fill played almost perfectly.
The AI made just three errors during the tournament. Its biggest edge, however, was speed. It dispatched most of the competition’s puzzles in under a minute.
AI Supremacy Anything But Assured
But since, unlike chess or go, crossword puzzles are ever-changing, another such showing isn’t guaranteed.
“It’s very likely that the constructors will throw some curveballs,” Shortz said.
Ginsberg says he’s already working to improve Dr.Fill. “We’ll see who makes more progress.”
The result may be out to be even more engaging crossword puzzles than ever.
“It turns out that the things that are going to stump a computer are really creative,” Klein said.
It will help piece together a 3D map of the universe, probe subatomic interactions for green energy sources and much more.
Perlmutter, officially dedicated today at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), is a supercomputer that will deliver nearly four exaflops of AI performance for more than 7,000 researchers.
That makes Perlmutter the fastest system on the planet on the 16- and 32-bit mixed-precision math AI uses. And that performance doesn’t even include a second phase coming later this year to the system based at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
More than two dozen applications are getting ready to be among the first to ride the 6,159 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs in Perlmutter, the largest A100-powered system in the world. They aim to advance science in astrophysics, climate science and more.
A 3D Map of the Universe
In one project, the supercomputer will help assemble the largest 3D map of the visible universe to date. It will process data from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), a kind of cosmic camera that can capture as many as 5,000 galaxies in a single exposure.
Researchers need the speed of Perlmutter’s GPUs to capture dozens of exposures from one night to know where to point DESI the next night. Preparing a year’s worth of the data for publication would take weeks or months on prior systems, but Perlmutter should help them accomplish the task in as little as a few days.
“I’m really happy with the 20x speedups we’ve gotten on GPUs in our preparatory work,” said Rollin Thomas, a data architect at NERSC who’s helping researchers get their code ready for Perlmutter.
Perlmutter’s Persistence Pays Off
DESI’s map aims to shed light on dark energy, the mysterious physics behind the accelerating expansion of the universe. Dark energy was largely discovered through the 2011 Nobel Prize-winning work of Saul Perlmutter, a still-active astrophysicist at Berkeley Lab who will help dedicate the new supercomputer named for him.
“To me, Saul is an example of what people can do with the right combination of insatiable curiosity and a commitment to optimism,” said Thomas, who worked with Perlmutter on projects following up the Nobel-winning discovery.
Supercomputer Blends AI, HPC
A similar spirit fuels many projects that will run on NERSC’s new supercomputer. For example, work in materials science aims to discover atomic interactions that could point the way to better batteries and biofuels.
Traditional supercomputers can barely handle the math required to generate simulations of a few atoms over a few nanoseconds with programs such as Quantum Espresso. But by combining their highly accurate simulations with machine learning, scientists can study more atoms over longer stretches of time.
“In the past it was impossible to do fully atomistic simulations of big systems like battery interfaces, but now scientists plan to use Perlmutter to do just that,” said Brandon Cook, an applications performance specialist at NERSC who’s helping researchers launch such projects.
That’s where Tensor Cores in the A100 play a unique role. They accelerate both the double-precision floating point math for simulations and the mixed-precision calculations required for deep learning.
Similar work won NERSC recognition in November as a Gordon Bell finalist for its BerkeleyGW program using NVIDIA V100 GPUs. The extra muscle of the A100 promises to take such efforts to a new level, said Jack Deslippe, who led the project and oversees application performance at NERSC.
Software Helps Perlmutter Sing
Software is a strategic component of Perlmutter, too, said Deslippe, noting support for OpenMP and other popular programming models in the NVIDIA HPC SDK the system uses.
Separately, RAPIDS, open-source code for data science on GPUs, will speed the work of NERSC’s growing team of Python programmers. It proved its value in a project that analyzed all the network traffic on NERSC’s Cori supercomputer nearly 600x faster than prior efforts on CPUs.
“That convinced us RAPIDS will play a major part in accelerating scientific discovery through data,” said Thomas.
Coping with COVID’s Challenges
Despite the pandemic, Perlmutter is on schedule. But the team had to rethink critical steps like how it ran hackathons for researchers working from home on code for the system’s exascale-class applications.
Meanwhile, engineers from Hewlett Packard Enterprise helped assemble phase 1 of the system, collaborating with NERSC staff who upgraded their facility to accommodate the new system. “We greatly appreciate the work of those people onsite bringing the system up, especially under all the special COVID protocols,” said Thomas.
At the virtual launch event, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang congratulated the Berkeley Lab crew on its plans to advance science with the supercomputer.
“Perlmutter’s ability to fuse AI and high performance computing will lead to breakthroughs in a broad range of fields from materials science and quantum physics to climate projections, biological research and more,” Huang said.
On Time for AI Supercomputing
The virtual ribbon cutting today represents a very real milestone.
“AI for science is a growth area at the U.S. Department of Energy, where proof of concepts are moving into production use cases in areas like particle physics, materials science and bioenergy,” said Wahid Bhimji, acting lead for NERSC’s data and analytics services group.
“People are exploring larger and larger neural-network models and there’s a demand for access to more powerful resources, so Perlmutter with its A100 GPUs, all-flash file system and streaming data capabilities is well timed to meet this need for AI,” he added.
Here’s a chance to become a marvel at marbles: the Marbles RTX playable sample is now available from the NVIDIA Omniverse launcher.
Marbles RTX is a physics-based mini-game level where a player controls a marble around a scene full of obstacles. The sample, which already has over 8,000 downloads, displays real-time physics with dynamic lighting and stunning, physically based materials.
The technology demo showcases NVIDIA Omniverse’s powerful suite of graphics, AI and simulation technologies. GeForce RTX gaming and NVIDIA RTX enthusiasts can download Marbles RTX and experience Omniverse’s advanced capabilities in real-time ray- and path-traced rendering, Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and complex physics simulation.
First previewed at GTC 2020, the Marbles RTX tech demo simulates the dynamic world in real time, without any precomputation or baking. It highlights NVIDIA’s advanced rendering and physics with exceptionally high-quality 3D content created from scratch.
The final Marbles RTX tech demo completed in Omniverse resulted in over 500GB of texture data, 165 unique assets that were modeled and textured by hand, more than 5,000 meshes and about 100 million polygons.
During the GeForce RTX 30 Series launch event in September, NVIDIA unveiled a more challenging take on the demo with the release of Marbles at Night RTX. This presented a night scene that contained hundreds of dynamic, animated lights. Based on NVIDIA Research, Marbles at Night RTX showcased how the power and beauty of RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing allows artists to render dynamic direct lighting and shadows from millions of area lights in real time.
The combination of physically based MDL materials and real-time, referenced path tracing in Omniverse brings high-quality details to the Marbles scene, enabling players to feel like they’re looking at real-world objects. The Omniverse RTX Renderer calculates reflections, refraction and global illumination accurately while the denoiser easily manages all the complex geometry across the entire scene.
NVIDIA PhysX 5 and Flow simulate the interaction of rigid-body objects and fluids in the scene in real time, and NVIDIA DLSS enhances the details in the image with powerful AI, allowing users to focus GPU resources on accuracy and fidelity. All these elements combined provide a unique look and feel in CGI that users typically can’t get from real-time games.
At GTC 2021, the artists behind Marbles RTX hosted an exclusive deep dive session detailing the creative and development process. Learn more about the Making of Marbles by watching the GTC session on demand, which is available now and free to access.
GFN Thursday comes roaring in with 22 games and support for three DLCs joining the GeForce NOW library this week.
Among the 22 new releases are five day-and-date game launches: Biomutant, Maneater, King of Seas, Imagine Earth and Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground.
DLC, Without the Download
GeForce NOW ensures your favorite games are automatically up to date, avoiding game updates and patches. Simply log in, click PLAY and enjoy an optimal cloud gaming experience.
This includes supporting the latest expansions and other downloadable content — without any local downloads.
Three great games are getting new DLC, and they’re streaming on GeForce NOW.
Hunt Showdown — The Committed DLC contains one Legendary Hunter (Monroe), a Legendary knife (Pane) and a Legendary Romero 77 (Lock and Key). It’s available on Steam, so members can start hunting now.
Isle of Siptah, the massive expansion to the open world survival game Conan Exiles, is exiting early access and releasing on Steam today. It features a vast new island to explore, huge and vile new creatures to slay, new building sets and a host of new features. Gamers have 40 new NPC camps and points of interest to explore, three new factions of NPCs, new ways of acquiring thralls and much more.
Announced last month, Iron Harvest – Operation Eagle, the new expansion to the critically acclaimed world of Iron Harvest set in the alternate reality of 1920, is available on Steam and streaming with GeForce NOW. Guide the new faction through seven new single-player missions, while learning how to use the game’s new Aircraft units across all of the game’s playable factions, including Polania, Saxony and Rusviet.
Newest Additions of the Week
GFN Thursday wouldn’t be complete without new games. The library evolved this week, but didn’t chew you up, with five day-and-date releases, including the launch of Biomutant, from Experiment 101 and THQ Nordic.