Expanding access to digital research infrastructure at UBC

 

In the past few years, UBC has increased its capacity to support researchers in all disciplines and meet their immediate needs surrounding data storage and computing power through UBC ARC Sockeye. With nearly 16,000 CPU cores and 200 GPUs (graphical processing units), this high-performance computing platform is designed to significantly increase the university’s computing capacity and supplement the national platform for digital research infrastructure.

As a member of the UBC Digital Research and Compute Infrastructure Committee, UBC iSchool Assistant Professor Dr. Muhammad Abdul-Mageed has worked during these past years to ensure the UBC research community has access to efficient digital research infrastructure. At the same time, his research has also benefited from this platform. Sockeye has been used in a number of Muhammad’s research projects that required specialized hardware, including the analysis of a billion-scale dataset of Tweets in 104 languages to understand the impact of COVID-19 on how humans communicate. The work will appear at the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL 2021).

 

“Some of the work we’ve been able to do wouldn’t even be possible, without access to Sockeye. I hope UBC continues to invest in more digital research infrastructure.”Muhammad Abdul-Mageed, Assistant Professor, School of Information 

 

Muhammad’s research involves large volumes of simulations to train language models in deep learning and natural language socio-pragmatics. “Very big models like ours take a lot of time to train. Sockeye helped us model faster and get results in shorter periods of time – weeks rather than months,” Muhammad explains. He is thankful for the access that Sockeye has provided. “Some of the work we’ve been able to do wouldn’t even be possible, without access to Sockeye. I hope UBC continues to invest in more digital research infrastructure.”

 

Learn more about UBC ARC (Advanced Research Computing) and how Sockeye helped Muhammad’s research on deep learning and large-scale language models in this article.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Michael Dziedzic – Unsplash

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