Skip to main content

DeltaAI Utilized in Groundbreaking Research Project to Democratize AI

Logo of the National Deep Inference Fabric (NDIF)

The soon-to-launch DeltaAI system at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications will play a pivotal role in establishing the National Deep Inference Fabric (NDIF), a collective research platform that will investigate how large language models (LLM) and generative artificial intelligence (AI) operate.

Recently announced by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in a $9 million award to Northeastern University, the NDIF’s goal is to create a nationwide computing fabric to support scientific experiments on running AI systems. NDIF will leverage DeltaAI, NCSA’s high-capacity AI-focused cluster in the NSF computing portfolio that combines high-performance data processing and high-speed storage, ideal for designing and deploying new software resources to study LLM inference.

“We’re excited to fully launch DeltaAI later this year and support Northeastern University researchers in their work on the National Deep Inference Fabric. As a major AI resource within the NSF cyberinfrastructure network, DeltaAI will be an indispensable resource for researchers across the country and help fulfill our shared mission of democratizing access to high-performance computing for AI.”

Bill Gropp, NCSA Director

DeltaAI will offer next-generation hardware and graphics processing units (GPUs) while greatly expanding the capacity available within the NSF-funded advanced computing ecosystem, including the NDIF project.

“Chatbots have transformed society’s relationship with AI, but how they operate is yet to be fully understood,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “With NDIF, U.S. researchers will be able peer inside the ‘black box’ of large language models, gaining new insights into how they operate and greater awareness of their potential impacts on society.”

When completed, DeltaAI will triple NCSA’s AI-focused computing capacity and will be an ideal host for the Northeastern University-led research.

“Understanding the mechanisms behind the strength of modern LLMs is one of the most pressing mysteries facing scientists today, raising fundamental questions about cognition as well as the many societal impacts of AI,” said David Bau, principal investigator for the project and assistant professor of computer science at Northeastern University. “NDIF defines a new, fully transparent way to access the largest models that is both powerful and cost-effective. It will democratize scientific access to the largest open AI models.”

Read the full NSF announcement and learn more about the NDIF project in the release from Northeastern University.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing, expertise and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students and collaborators from around the globe use innovative resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been assisting many of the world’s industry giants for over 35 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

Back to top