MSOE’s new Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall officially opened Sept.13, 2019. The major feature of the building is “Rosie,” a supercomputer that includes three NVIDIA DGX-1 pods, each with eight NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs, and 20 servers each with four NVIDIA T4 GPUs. The nodes are joined together by Mellanox networking fabric and share 200TB of network-attached storage.
The name of this number-crunching behemoth was inspired by the women who programmed one of the earliest computers – the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) and captured in the documentary “Top Secret Rosies – The Female Computers of WWII.” During World War II, the military hired six women as “computers” to calculate ballistics trajectories by hand. The job was time consuming so two male engineers—John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert—designed a machine to do it faster.
The ENIAC was created in 1946. Programming the ENIAC was an intellectually demanding job that involved extensive preparation, planning, and then configuring wires on a machine stretching across a 50-by-30-foot room. At that time, only those six women were trained to use it. The team included Jean Jennings Bartik, who lead the development of computer storage and memory, and Frances Elizabeth Holberton, who created the first software application. Together these women laid the groundwork for future programmers and software engineers and were instrumental in teaching others to program after the war.
With artificial intelligence computing, the magic of programming is done by the computer (Rosie) after the scientists and engineers feed it data. Like the days of the ENIAC, a modern Rosie is the secret behind the acceleration of AI for decades to come.