Nouvelles techniques

And the world’s most powerful supercomputer is…

To make its immersive world work, Meta embarks on the global race for supercomputers. While Facebook’s parent company dreams of bringing the whole world into its metaverse, this acceleration is a reminder of Taiwan’s central role in global electronics, at the heart of the technological battle between China and the United States.

AI Research SuperCluster (RSC): remember this name well… Because according to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, it could well become the fastest supercomputer in the world from June, when it will be finalized. The promise of its designers? Allowing it to work in hundreds of different languages, to analyze millions of texts simultaneously, as well as to work on large-scale augmented reality tools.

If we do not know where it will be located, this supercomputer promises to approach five exaflops. A challenge when very few supercomputers today have exceeded the exaflop barrier, or one billion billion operations per second. Meta will in any case face various competitors, such as the Japanese Fujitsu, or the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight.

Megalomania ? While The Sandbox – which is developing its own immersive world – has just signed an agreement with Warner, and Decentraland has decided to create a replica of the Australian Open, Meta needs very high computing power to make operate its own metaverse. « To generalize these modes of interaction to millions, if not billions of individuals, is not within the reach of current computing capacities », recalls Alexandre Bounouh, researcher at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). The environmental question remains to be settled, because the manufacture of the chips necessary for the development of these devices, just like the energy necessary to cool them, still makes you dizzy.

Taiwan is well placed to know this. The island, essential in the development of the raw material for these supercomputers, is indeed home to the factories of TSMC, which is more than ever at the heart of the technological battle between China and the United States. This manufacturer swallows more than 150,000 tons of water a day to carry out the production of its semiconductors. And the island, which experienced a historic drought at the beginning of last year, had to partially sacrifice the irrigation of its countryside so as not to slow down production… Smaller and smaller chips but with an impact which is still very important on the environment.

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