UF Announces $70 Million Artificial Intelligence Partnership with NVIDIA – University of Florida

UF Announces $70 Million Artificial Intelligence Partnership with NVIDIA – University of Florida

A photo of a supercomputer

Artist’s rendering of University of Florida’s new AI supercomputer based on NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD architecture. 

“With AI holding the potential to revolutionize education and research – and indeed every sector of society – the University of Florida will work to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the center of this transformational change. We’re thrilled UF is demonstrating such national leadership and placing community engagement and training a 21st Century workforce at the heart of its mission.”

  • Peter McPherson, President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

The University of Florida today announced a public-private partnership with NVIDIA that will catapult UF’s research strength to address some of the world’s most formidable challenges, create unprecedented access to AI training and tools for underrepresented communities, and build momentum for transforming the future of the workforce.

The initiative is anchored by a $50 million gift — $25 million from UF alumnus Chris Malachowsky and $25 million in hardware, software, training and services from NVIDIA, the Silicon Valley-based technology company he cofounded and a world leader in AI and accelerated computing.

Along with an additional $20 million investment from UF, the initiative will create an AI-centric data center that houses the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in higher education. Working closely with NVIDIA, UF will boost the capabilities of its existing supercomputer, HiPerGator, with the recently announced NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD™ architecture. This will give faculty and students within and beyond UF the tools to apply AI across a multitude of areas to improve lives, bolster industry, and create economic growth across the state.

“This incredible gift from Chris and NVIDIA will propel the state of Florida to new heights as it strives to be an economic powerhouse, an unrivaled leader in job creation and an international model of 21st-century know-how,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “Over the coming years, tens of thousands of University of Florida graduates with this unique AI-oriented background will create their futures and ours, transforming our workforce and virtually every field and every industry here in Florida and around the world.”

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“DOE’s Artificial Intelligence & Technology Office is ready to partner to accelerate the development of UF’s AI curricula and eager to seek UF and NVIDIA expertise on how to advance our own workforce training. 

The University of Florida has been at the forefront of these efforts. Its partnership with NVIDIA to develop the HiPerGator3 supercomputer, the most powerful AI machine in US higher education, is a strong symbol of UF’s commitment to AI and the growing role it needs to play in how we learn.” 

The goals UF has set to infuse the entire curriculum with AI training and educational opportunities is an example all universities should aspire to follow. It demonstrates that the University of Florida and NVIDIA understand the depth and the breadth of AI’s impact as the demand for AI-literate workers will extend well beyond the tech sector.” 

  • Cheryl Ingstad, Director of US DOE’s Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office

“As the Co-Chairs of the House AI Caucus, we applaud this new, comprehensive AI program. The initiative includes key components of AI development: computing power, data, talent, and partnerships. We are also pleased to see the focus on equitable access to AI. Executing on this program will mean students at schools across the state and nation – including K-12, state and local schools, HBCUs, and HSIs – won’t be left behind in the AI-driven future. The U.S. must continue to invest in AI, and efforts such as this can help light the way.”

  • Congressman Jerry McNerny, California, Congressman Pete Olson, Texas, Co-Chairs, AI Caucus

“I am excited to hear the great news of the very generous gift UF alumni Chris Malachowsky and his software company NVIDIA presented to UF.  NVIDIA and the University of Florida partnering together to advance Artificial Intelligence research and opening this growing field to underrepresented communities.  The University of Florida is home to some of the brightest forward-thinking minds in academia and the country. This partnership will most certainly help solidify UF’s position as a national leader in AI research.  This partnership is vital in helping the US stay in the forefront of AI leadership in the world, while opening up the field to countless Americans.”

  • U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, Florida

UF’s National AI Leadership

The partnership will be central to UF’s vision to be a national leader in the application of AI, including an expansive plan to elevate its reach and impact in research, teaching, and economic development. It provides a replicable framework for future public-private cooperation, and a model for addressing society’s grand challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration. By deploying AI across the curriculum, this powerful resource will address major challenges such as rising seas, aging populations, data security, personalized medicine, urban transportation and food insecurity. 
 

“UF’s leadership has a bold vision for making artificial intelligence accessible across its campus,” said Malachowsky, who serves as an NVIDIA Fellow. “What really got NVIDIA and me excited was partnering with UF to go broader still, and make AI available to K-12 students, state and community colleges, and businesses. This will help address underrepresented communities and sectors across the region where the technology will have a profound positive effect.”

Extensive Collaboration with NVIDIA

NVIDIA’s technology powers two-thirds of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, including eight of the top 10. The third-generation HiPerGator will have access to NVIDIA’s most advanced AI software and integrate 140 NVIDIA DGX™ A100 systems with 1,120 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and high-performance NVIDIA Mellanox HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking to deliver 700 petaflops of AI performance. 

“Artificial intelligence is the most powerful technology force of our time,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “Fueled by data and machine learning, AI is advancing at an exponential pace, impacting every industry from healthcare to transportation to the sciences. Through their generosity and vision, Chris and UF are providing a mighty foundation for students and faculty to harness this technology and drive discovery.”

UF is the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to receive DGX A100 systems, which are designed to accelerate diverse workloads, including AI training, inference, and data analytics.

NVIDIA will also contribute its AI expertise to UF through ongoing support and collaboration across the following initiatives:

  • The NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute will collaborate with UF on developing new curriculum and coursework for both students and the community, including programing tuned to address the needs of young adults and teens to encourage their interest in STEM and AI, better preparing them for future educational and employment opportunities.
  • UF will become the site of the latest NVIDIA AI Technology Center, where UF Graduate Fellows and NVIDIA employees will work together to advance AI. 
  • NVIDIA solution architects and product engineers will partner with UF on the installation, operation and optimization of the NVIDIA-based supercomputing resources on campus, including the latest AI software applications. 
  • Establishing UF’s Equitable AI program, led by Dr. Juan Gilbert, Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering. The effort is convening faculty members across the university to create standards and certifications in developing tools and solutions that are cognizant of bias, unethical practice and legal and moral issues.

“As the grand challenges that the scientific and engineering communities face become more complex, the need for artificial intelligence and machine learning to both advance scientific knowledge and manage an increasingly complex technological environment becomes more important. The University of Florida’s new supercomputing facility is an important addition to the AI ecosystem and will provide academic researchers with much needed access to computing power that can advance artificial intelligence far into the future. 

“Unlike traditional high-performance computing systems, this academic supercomputer is specialized to leverage AI simulation and inference, which are important tools in accelerating research areas including drug discovery, astrophysics, and natural hazards modeling. By partnering with NVIDIA, the University of Florida is able to leverage this state-of-the-art technology and use it to enhance the education and training of the next generation of researchers, technicians, and leaders. 

“This partnership can and should serve as a model of how universities, industry, and government can combine their respective strengths for the benefit of all. This will be vitally important in strengthening the U.S. supercomputing ecosystem, and by extension, U.S. economic competitiveness” 

  • Hodan Omaar, Policy Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

“Computing power is at the heart of Artificial Intelligence, and this investment in the fastest AI supercomputer in academia will ensure that the U.S. stays on the cutting edge of research and development. This system, combined with investments in curriculum and critical national, state, and local partnerships, is a model for building an AI economy for all Americans. As the Chair of the Congressional Semiconductor Caucus, I’m glad that American semiconductor companies like NVIDIA are leading the charge.” 

“With Director Panchanathan now at the helm of the National Science Foundation, I look forward to seeing his vision for bringing AI supercomputing to other research centers such as the TACC in Austin, Texas.” 

  • Congressman Michael T. McCaul Michael T. McCall, Ranking Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, Co-Chair, Semiconductor Caucus

Integrated AI Curriculum, Intelligent-Decision Support, Equitable Access

As a comprehensive institution, UF has a goal of bringing together students and faculty from across campus—and across the state. It will be among the nation’s first to integrate AI across all disciplines and make it a ubiquitous part of its academic enterprise. It will offer certificates and degree programs in AI and data science, with curriculum modules for specific technical and industry-focused domains. The initiative includes a commitment from UF to hire 100 more faculty members focused on AI. They will join 500 new faculty recently added across disciplines — many of whom will weave AI into their teaching and research.

“More than ever before in my lifetime, people around the country and the globe are looking to universities to expand access to higher education and technology and to level the field of opportunity for all,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “UF intends to meet that challenge, and this partnership will help us do it.”

Within UF Health, UF’s robust academic health center, AI systems are being deployed to monitor patient conditions in real time, making it the first health system to use deep-learning technology to generate patient viability data. Through a novel system known as DeepSOFA, Dr. Azra Bihorac and her team use AI systems to collect and organize a patient’s medical data so that doctors can make better-informed decisions. DeepSOFA is but one example of how AI technology will be put to use to bolster research and improve patient care at UF Health. 

To ensure no community is left behind, UF plans to promote wide accessibility to these computing capabilities and work with other institutions to develop a talent pipeline able to harness the power of AI through several initiatives. These include:

  • Creating partnerships with industry and other academic groups, such as the Inclusive Engineering Consortium, whose students will work with members to conduct research and recruitment to UF graduate programs. The effort is led by HWCOE faculty member Dr. Damon Woodard. UF will also partner with these institutions to provide training in AI.

“This initiative will allow us to recruit and equip a diverse, talented cadre of faculty and students across multiple disciplines and bring them together with colleagues from government and the private sector to find solutions to our most important problems,” said Dr. Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.

University officials expect today’s announcement will spark additional excitement among others who have significant resources and abilities related to AI, and reaffirmed their commitment to serve as a catalyst for those who wish to step up and join in this amazing adventure.

Steve Orlando July 21, 2020

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