IBM is installing a cluster of IBM Artificial Intelligence Unit (AIU) prototype chips at the Center for Emerging Artificial Intelligence Systems (CEAIS) at the University at Albany (UAlbany) in New York.

Announced by Governor Kathy Hochul in October 2022, CEAIS is a $20 million joint venture between IBM and the UAlbany.

IBM Quantum Lab (1)

Using cloud computing technology and hardware provided by the IBM Research AI Hardware Center, CEAIS will make the university one of the biggest AI test beds in the US and enable students and researchers to run complex AI models.

The AIU cluster is the first to be installed on a university campus anywhere in the world. Currently, the only other site with a cluster is IBM Research, headquartered at Yorktown Heights, New York, where it is being used to power internal production workloads on IBM watsonx.

“UAlbany is proud to be the first institution in the world to receive this cutting-edge technology, and we are grateful to IBM for their continued collaboration,” University at Albany President, Havidán Rodríguez, said in a statement reported by Times Union. “We are committed to using the IBM AIU to expand the frontiers of AI-powered research.”

The AIU, debuted by IBM in late 2022, is a complete system-on-a-chip (SOC) that has been designed to run and train deep learning models faster and more efficiently than general-purpose CPUs.

The chip has 32 individual AI processing cores, contains 23 billion transistors, and was built using 5 nm node process technology. The AIU is a scaled version of the AI accelerator built into IBM’s Telum chip and can be plugged into any computer or server with a PCIe slot.