July 21, 2024
Denmark’s new Nvidia AI supercomputer will come online this year

Two of the biggest winners over the past year — chipmaker Nvidia and pharmaceutical drug maker Novo Nordisk — are joining forces to set up one the world’s most advanced AI supercomputers in Denmark. 

Named Gefion, after the Norse goddess of ploughing and abundance, and built by Atos Group subsidiary Eviden, it will be based on the Nvidia DGX SuperPod architecture. Gefion will feature over 1,500 of Nvidia’s H100 Tensor Core GPUs and deliver six exaflops of FP8 AI performance. Furthermore, it will connect to the Nvidia Cuda Quantum open-source software platform, which allows for simulations on hybrid quantum-classical computers.

The supercomputer will belong to the “Danish Center for AI Innovation,” and be hosted by a Digital Realty data centre, which uses 100% renewable energy. Novo Nordisk, the maker of diabetes-turned-weight-loss drug Ozempic/Wegovy, is investing around €80mn in the project through the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark is also contributing around €8mn.

“Groundbreaking scientific discoveries are based on data, and AI has now provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate research within, for example, human, and planetary health,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation in a statement.

Clarifying the partnership agreement in a press briefing, Kimberly Powell, VP of healthcare at Nvidia, said “In our collaboration agreement, we’ll be taking all of this generative AI and bring it over to their sovereign AI infrastructure so that [Denmark] can really push into advancing medicine, quantum computing, and social sciences.”

The geopolitics of AI

Meanwhile, AI and the supercomputers that power its training is no longer the domain of a few select researchers. As the technology becomes ever more ubiquitous, the compute needed to train larger and larger AI models or run sophisticated simulations increases.

Its significance ranges between everything from productivity and efficiency gains, to military and cybersecurity applications — something that is not passing unnoticed by national security policymakers, as illustrated by US export restrictions on hardware used to train AI to China. 

“In the current geopolitical climate, it is important that we strengthen our strategic positions,” Morten Bødskov, Danish Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, stated (albeit steering clear of the phrase of the day, “digital sovereignty”). 

A computer generated image of a quantum style software computation from Nvidia