NVIDIA introduces RAPIDS Open-Source GPU-Acceleration Platform for Large-Scale Data Analytics and Machine Learning


Image credit: NVIDIA

SINGAPORE – NVIDIA today announced a GPU-acceleration platform for data science and machine learning, with broad adoption from industry leaders, that enables even the largest companies to analyse massive amounts of data and make accurate business predictions at unprecedented speed.

RAPIDS open-source software gives data scientists an enormous performance boost as they address highly complex business challenges, such as predicting credit card fraud, forecasting retail inventory and understanding customer buying behaviour. Reflecting the growing consensus about the GPU’s importance in data analytics, an array of companies is supporting RAPIDS — from pioneers in the open-source community, such as Databricks and Anaconda, to tech leaders such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Oracle.

Analysts estimate the server market for data science and machine learning at US$20 billion annually, which — together with scientific analysis and deep learning — pushes up the value of the high-performance computing market to approximately US$36 billion.

“Data analytics and machine learning are the largest segments of the high-performance computing market that have not been accelerated — until now,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, who revealed RAPIDS in his keynote address at the GPU Technology Conference. “The world’s largest industries run algorithms written by machine learning on a sea of servers to sense complex patterns in their market and environment, and make fast, accurate predictions that directly impact their bottom line.

“Building on CUDA and its global ecosystem, and working closely with the open-source community, we have created the RAPIDS GPU-acceleration platform. It integrates seamlessly into the world’s most popular data science libraries and workflows to speed up machine learning. We are turbocharging machine learning as we have done with deep learning,” he said.

RAPIDS offers a suite of open-source libraries for GPU-accelerated analytics, machine learning and, soon, data visualisation. It has been developed over the past two years by NVIDIA engineers in close collaboration with key open-source contributors.

For the first time, it gives scientists the tools they need to run the entire data science pipeline on GPUs. Initial RAPIDS benchmarked, using the XGBoost machine learning algorithm for training on an NVIDIA DGX-2 system, shows 50x speedups compared with CPU-only systems. This allows data scientists to reduce typical training times from days to hours, or from hours to minutes, depending on the size of their dataset.

Close Collaboration with Open-Source Community

RAPIDS builds on popular open-source projects — including Apache Arrow, pandas and scikit- learn — by adding GPU acceleration to the most popular Python data science toolchain. To bring additional machine learning libraries and capabilities to RAPIDS, NVIDIA is collaborating with such open-source ecosystem contributors as Anaconda, BlazingDB, Databricks, Quansight, and scikit-learn, as well as Wes McKinney, head of Ursa Labs and creator of Apache Arrow and pandas, the fastest-growing Python data science library.

“RAPIDS, a GPU-accelerated data science platform, is a next-generation computational ecosystem powered by Apache Arrow,” McKinney said. “NVIDIA’s collaboration with Ursa Labs will accelerate the pace of innovation in the core Arrow libraries and help bring about major performance boosts in analytics and feature engineering workloads.”

To facilitate broad adoption, NVIDIA is integrating RAPIDS into Apache Spark, the leading open- source framework for analytics and data science.

“At Databricks, we are excited about RAPIDS’ potential to accelerate Apache Spark workloads,” said Matei Zaharia, co-founder and chief technologist of Databricks, and founder of Apache Spark. “We have multiple ongoing projects to integrate Spark better with native accelerators, including Apache Arrow support and GPU scheduling with Project Hydrogen. We believe that RAPIDS is an exciting new opportunity to scale our customers’ data science and AI workloads.”

Broad Ecosystem Support and Adoption

Tech-leading enterprises across a broad range of industries are early adopters of NVIDIA’s GPU- acceleration platform and RAPIDS.

“NVIDIA’s GPU-acceleration platform with RAPIDS software has immensely improved how we use data — enabling the most complex models to run at scale and deliver even more accurate forecasting,” said Jeremy King, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Walmart. “RAPIDS has its roots in a deep collaboration between NVIDIA’s and Walmart’s engineers, and we plan to build on this relationship.”


Mark Ko

Besides tech, I love chicken rice. Point me in the right direction and I'll go and try it. :)

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