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Sberbank makes AI-oriented supercomputer available to organizations “of any size”

This story initially appeared in East-West Digital News, an international news resource covering the Russian innovation scene.

Sberbank, the Russian financial and technological behemoth, is preparing “Russia’s fastest supercomputer” for commercial launch. This computational capacity was unveiled at an industry conference last month by Sberbank CEO German Gref in presence of President Putin .

The supercomputer will be made available to customers of SberCloud, Sberbank’s cloud solution, starting from December 12 as scheduled by the company. 

Named after Nikolai Christofari, the first customer of Russia’s savings bank in 1841, the engine will “make the design and use of artificial intelligence algorithms as fast and convenient as possible,” as explained by Sberbank’s press service.

“The architecture and computing power of the Christofari supercomputer let stakeholders train models based on deep neural networks in record time. The use of supercomputer resources will improve the efficiency of problem solving in a wide range of areas, like natural language processing, computer vision, automated decision-making, risk assessment and management, fraud detection, predictive analytics, creating voice assistants and chat bots, etc.”

Christofari can be used by research, commercial, and government organizations operating in a variety of industries – from oil and gas, to finance, to telecom, to retail, to healthcare and others.

“Even for startups”

David Rafalovsky, Sberbank’s CTO and Executive Vice President, stressed that the cloud makes this supercomputing capacity “available for companies of any size.” 

“Even a small startup can get an enormous computing capacity, just like a major corporation, with no need to create or grow its own IT infrastructure, or employ specialists to maintain it.”

He also underlined “the speed of model learning and high performance computing, which is unprecedented for Russia” and “will unlock the creation of completely new AI solutions and technologies.”

Christofari is based on NVIDIA DGX-2 high performance nodes and Tesla V100 computing accelerators. Under LINPACK tests, its performance reached 6.7 PFLOPs. 

The NVIDIA DGX-2 is the world’s highest performing system to tackle the most difficult AI and HPC tasks, according to Sberbank. Thus, Christofari can “speed up new types of neural networks coupled with a scalable architecture helps to efficiently work with big and complicated models.” This “accelerates the learning process of neural networks several-fold.”

Tinkoff Bank in the running

In April this year, as reported by East-West Digital News, the tech-friendly Russian digital lender Tinkoff Bank launched another powerful AI-oriented super computer. 

Named after the eminent Russian mathematician Andrey Kolmogorov, the machine has been ranked 8th in the Top 50 supercomputers in Russia – at the highest place among participating businesses.

The machine, named after the eminent Russian mathematician Andrey Kolmogorov, features “fast connections between computer nodes improve the efficiency of hardware resources in distributed training on huge data sets.”  Thus, Tinkoff’s supercomputer aims to offer a “much faster solution to machine learning and AI-related tasks.”

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