PlanetSolar’s Christian Ochsenbein Sails the Seas on Sunshine

Christian Ochsenbein was the engineer on board the only solar boat to circumnavigate the globe

6 min read
Christian Ochsenbein
Photo: Antoine Doyen

Inside the main cabin of MS TûranorPlanetSolar, the first boat to travel around the world on sunlight alone, Christian Ochsenbein opens a trapdoor hidden beneath a seat cushion and crawls inside. He climbs down a dark tube and squats inside a long, narrow chamber—one of two pontoons keeping the catamaran afloat.

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Measuring AI’s Carbon Footprint

New tools track and reduce emissions from machine learning

3 min read
An abstract triangle mosaic background made of circuit board and leaf stock photos
Istock photo

Machine-learning models are growing exponentially larger. At the same time, they require exponentially more energy to train, so that they can accurately process images or text or video. As the AI community grapples with its environmental impact, some conferences now ask paper submitters to include information on CO2 emissions. New research offers a more accurate method for calculating those emissions. It also compares factors that affect them, and tests two methods for reducing them.

Several software packages estimate the carbon emissions of AI workloads. Recently a team at Université Paris-Saclay tested a group of these tools to see if they were reliable. “And they’re not reliable at all,” says Anne-Laure Ligozat, a co-author of that study who was not involved in the new work.

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The Beating Heart of the World’s First Exascale Supercomputer

These chips power Frontier past 1,100,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second

4 min read
An image of Frontier, the worlds first exascale supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, U.S..
Carlos Jones/ORNL/U.S. Department of Energy

The world’s latest fastest supercomputer, Frontier at Oak Ridge National Lab, in Tennessee, is so powerful that it operates faster than the next seven best supercomputers combined and more than twice as well as the No. 2 machine. Frontier is not only the first machine to break the exascale barrier, a threshold of a billion billion calculations per second, but is also ranked No. 1 as the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputer. Now the companies that helped build Frontier, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), reveal the electronic tricks that make the supercomputer tick.

Frontier consists of 74 HPE Cray EX supercomputing cabinets, each weighing more than 3,600 kilograms, which altogether hold more than 9,400 computing nodes. Each node contains one optimized third-generation AMD EPYC 64-core 2-gigahertz “Trento” processor for general tasks and four AMD instinct MI250x accelerators for highly parallel supercomputing and AI operations, as well as 4 terabytes of flash memory to help quickly feed the GPUs data. In total, Frontier contains 9,408 CPUs, 37,632 GPUs, and 8,730,112 cores, linked together by 145 kilometers of networking cables. The lab says its world-leading supercomputer consumes about 21 megawatts.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!