NVIDIA has donated 15 V100 Tesla GPUs to researchers attending the recent Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Honolulu. The giveaway was described in a blog posted by the company on July 22.
Recipients of the first V100 GPUs. Source: NVIDIA
The Volta-class graphics processors were presented to representatives of each of the 15 research institutions attending the conference, and represent the first such GPUs that the company has made available to users. The new hardware is expected to become more widely available in the current (third) quarter of the year.
The V100 is NVIDIA’s latest and greatest GPU computing processor, and includes special-purpose hardware called Tensor Cores that are specifically designed to accelerate deep learning applications. The 640 Tensor Cores on the chip deliver 120 teraflops of performance for both training and inferencing neural networks. That’s about five times faster than what can be achieved on the current-generation P100 Tesla GPUs.
The V100 can also deliver 7.5 teraflops of double precision (64-bit) floating point power, but to the AI researchers who received the new GPUs, this feature is unlikely to be used. Most deep learning algorithms use 32-bit, 16-bit, and, in some cases, 8-bit arithmetic to perform their AI magic.
While at the conference, NVIDIA also demonstrated V100 hardware doing inferencing on a Resnet-152 trained network. Running with just one of the four V100 GPUs on a DGX Station and NVIDIA’s TensorRT inference optimizer software, the system was able to classify 527 flower images per second. That was 100 times faster than a CPU-only setup equipped with an Intel “Skylake” processor. It’s noteworthy that even the 5 images-per-second rate for the CPU system is faster than what a human could manage.
Speaking at the event, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang spoke to the attendees about the significance of artificial intelligence and their research. “AI is the most powerful technology force that we have ever known,” said Jensen… “I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen the coming and going of the client-server revolution. I’ve seen the coming and going of the PC revolution. Absolutely nothing compares.”