Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory installs SambaNova AI accelerator


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has installed an artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator from SambaNova Systems. This will allow researchers to combine AI and machine learning (ML) with complex scientific workloads, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said in a statement.

LLNL has begun integrating the new AI hardware, SambaNova Systems DataScale, into the NNSA’s Corona supercomputing cluster, an 11-plus petaFLOP machine that lab scientists are using to conduct fusion energy research, says the laboratory.

Lab researchers said the upgrade will allow them to run scientific simulations on the Corona system while offloading AI calculations from those simulations to the SambaNova DataScale system.

Once the integration is complete, LLNL researchers plan to use the platform to continue exploring the combination of high performance computing (HPC) and AI, an effort LLNL calls “cognitive simulation” (CogSim).

The AI system was funded by NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program and comes to LLNL as part of an agreement between the Department of Energy (DOE) and SambaNova Systems to accelerate AI within the DOE national laboratories.

Another such system is being deployed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where it has been integrated into a heterogeneous system called “Darwin,” and will be initially used to model quantum chemistry, according to NNSA.

Initial performance results are promising, with early applications showing 5x or larger speedups when normalized to transistors used vs. GPUs, researchers said, says LLNL.

[Image courtesy: LLNL]