Sat, Sep 07, 2019 - Page 2 News List

National cloud service to open for commercial use

AI DEVELOPMENT:Firms would pay less than NT$100 per hour to use the Taiwan Computing Cloud, a better deal than offered by Google, Microsoft and Amazon

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Computing Cloud platform, which is backed by domestically developed supercomputer Taiwania 2, is to be opened to commercial use next month, featuring lower application fees and better security than foreign suppliers, the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) said.

The platform was built by the NARL’s National Center for High-performance Computing and local firms Asustek Computer Inc, Quanta Computer Inc and Taiwan Mobile Co, with a goal of accelerating the nation’s artificial intelligence (AI) development, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

The platform is run on the center’s Taiwania 2, which has 2,016 of Nvidia’s Tesla V100 graphic processing units (GPUs) and a computing capacity of 9 quadrillion floating-point operations per second, the ministry said.

The program has been running trials since May, center deputy director-general Lin Hsi-ching (林錫慶) told the Taipei Times on Tuesday.

Companies at least 30 percent owned by Chinese investors would be barred from using the platform, in line with Ministry of Economic Affairs regulations, Lin said.

The center has drafted three tiers of fees for ordinary businesses, start-ups and government agencies, with the proposal awaiting ministry approval, he said.

Businesses would pay less than NT$100 for an hour of GPU use, which is a better deal than offered by major cloud suppliers such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon, he said.

Start-ups and government agencies would pay even less, he added.

The ministry is to complete its review of the fees in about a week, Department of Foresight and Innovation Policies Director-General Yang Hsiu-ya (楊琇雅) said.

Data processing and local storage are other advantages of the platform, Lin said.

Previously, those needing cloud computing had to purchase services from foreign suppliers, which risked exposing valuable data — such as those collected by healthcare providers, manufacturers and semiconductor developers — to security risks and time costs, Lin said.

To protect data, the center would limit access to the platform, he said.

Taiwania 2 was named the world’s 20th-fastest computer in the Top500 Supercomputer List released in November last year, but dropped to 23rd on the list released in June.

The drop shows how nations are vying to build more efficient supercomputers, Lin said.

“Computing power is a nation’s power,” he added.

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