Google unveiled the A3 supercomputer

Today, Google hosted the Google I/O 2023 conference. At the event, Google not only introduced the latest additions to the Pixel hardware series but also announced that its AI service, Google Bard, will be equipped with enhanced functionality and expanded availability across numerous countries and regions. Concurrently, Google unveiled the A3 supercomputer, the powerhouse behind Google Bard’s substantial computing capabilities.

Google asserts that the A3 is specifically designed to train and operate contemporary generative AI and large language models, offering an AI performance of 26 exaFLOPS. Each A3 machine is constituted by a fourth-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, 2TB of DDR5-4800 memory, and eight NVIDIA H100 GPUs. These eight H100 GPUs are interconnected via NVSwitch and NVLink 4.0, achieving a bandwidth of up to 3.6 TB/s.

Google A3 supercomputer

“Google Cloud’s A3 VMs, powered by next-generation NVIDIA H100 GPUs, will accelerate training and serving of generative AI applications,” said Ian Buck, vice president of hyperscale and high performance computing at NVIDIA. “On the heels of Google Cloud’s recently launched G2 instances, we’re proud to continue our work with Google Cloud to help transform enterprises around the world with purpose-built AI infrastructure.

Beyond the hardware supplied by Intel and NVIDIA, the A3 also incorporates a custom 200Gbps IPU by Google, facilitating data transfer between GPUs while bypassing the CPU. It also enables transmission at the interface of other virtual machine networks and data flows. Compared to the A2, the A3 boasts ten times the network bandwidth, lower tail latency, and enhanced stability. Google’s Jupiter data center network structure allows tens of thousands of GPUs to be highly interconnected, with the ability to adjust the network topology as needed, thus reducing costs.

The Google A3 has not officially launched yet. Currently, the only way to utilize it is by filling out Google’s Preview Intent form. As it is a service aimed at enterprises, it holds little relevance for individual users. However, having the opportunity to use Google Bard could be considered, in a certain sense, as experiencing the A3.