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09 July, 2024

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The Forerunner 1 supercomputer has officially gone online at the Tainan branch of the National Center for High Performance Computing. The Forerunner 1 is replacing the now retired Taiwania 1 supercomputer, which was built in 2017.


According to the National Applied Research Laboratories, the Forerunner 1 has 62,496 computing cores, a peak performance of up to 3.5 petaflops and 9.2 petabytes of storage.


NARLabs says the new supercomputer is suitable for various high-performance computing tasks related to climate prediction, astrophysics, molecular modelling and engineering. Forerunner 1's construction began in 2023.


National Center for High Performance Computing Director General Zhang Chao-liang says it provides enhanced computing performance and better energy efficiency. Zhang also says the center will complete the installation of 16 petaflops of graphics processing unit computing power by the end of this year to meet the demands of research and applications related to large language models and data-driven A-I.


In other supercomputer news, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) says it has approved four Taiwanese teams to receive free access to Taipei-1, the supercomputer built by Nvidia to boost their research and development capabilities.

The ministry said the teams are the first batch of applicants for the government campaign which covers a wide range of topics from large language model training and chip design, and from smart healthcare to autonomous driving.


The teams were selected from nearly 30 companies, universities and research institutions. The economics ministry says they will each be able to use 25% of Taipei-1's computing power for six weeks from now through 30 September.


It is the first time the government has secured AI computing power from a foreign company. The economics ministry says the duration of such access is expected to last for two and a half years; it also valued the access at approximately NT$400 million.


The Taipei-1 supercomputer was launched in Kaohsiung late last year to develop AI technologies and products.

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