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UF’s supercomputer ranks first in the U.S. for energy efficiency

The HiPerGator AI supercomputer ranked No. 22 overall worldwide.
The HiPerGator AI supercomputer ranked second among supercomputers in higher education in the U.S. and third worldwide.
The HiPerGator AI supercomputer ranked second among supercomputers in higher education in the U.S. and third worldwide. [ University of Florida ]
Published Jul. 2

The University of Florida’s new HiPerGator AI supercomputer is cranking out top rankings.

Top500, which ranks high-power computing systems, ranked the computer most energy-efficient in the country and second worldwide on its Green500 list. It also ranked it No. 22 among most-powerful supercomputers worldwide, putting it second among supercomputers belonging to universities nationwide, and third in higher education overall.

The computer was the result of a $70 million partnership the university announced last year with California-based company NVIDIA to invest in artificial intelligence. In addition, UF received $20 million from the state to hire 100 new artificial intelligence faculty across disciplines and said it would incorporate AI into every field of study.

So far, the university has hired 30 faculty. It has also developed about 30 new courses, provost Joseph Glover said. Business freshmen, for example, now take a required course in business analytics and artificial intelligence.

Related: RELATED: UF students, get used to this topic: artificial intelligence

In the fall, the high-powered computer will be open to universities across the state university system and some across the country who have expressed interest.

UF Vice President and Chief Information Officer Elias Eldayrie said the university plans to continue finding new applications for artificial intelligence.

“The ranking is interesting but what we believe is more important is the impact the technology will make. The machine is important, but that’s not the only thing,” he said. “The machine will lead the way.”

The computer has been running since January and the first large-scale project was announced in April. UF Health researchers created GatorTron, a language processing model that analyzed billions of words of medical health records over 10 years to de-identify personal information and seek out trends.

Other uses, Glover said, include using artificial intelligence to train a robot to pick strawberries from fields, selecting the ripe ones and leaving behind others.

“(The U.S. is) not creating a trained AI workforce for the 21st century,” he said. “Our competitor nations, like China, are doing that. So there’s great concern in Washington that the nation needs to figure out some way of training up its next generation of workforce in AI and data science skills. ...Within a couple of years, we’re going to be turning out thousands of students with AI competence.”

Soon, he said, artificial intelligence will be as ubiquitous as personal computers.

“Everyone’s quite excited about it,” Glover said. “Everyone understands that artificial intelligence and data science will be very important in our students’ future.”