Number Crunching

Neuronal Networks need compute power. You can buy cloud time, but that’s rather expensive. So we need a hardware update.

Our only desktop computer is old and was never intended to be a good in floating point simulations. Ever with the limited CAD work I do, you feel it’s age. A new one should be good for single thread applications, and machine learning supported by a GPU.

And it will run on Linux!


  • CPU: Intel Core i9 7900x
    Machine Learning doesn’t require a very fast CPU, but some of the other, single threaded Linux applications do.
  • Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Gaming K6
    That was a tough one. The fast boards, with a reasonable price and the support for multiple GPUs are the gamer boards. But I don’t need fancy lighting. And I don’t need Wifi, we have wired Ethernet. And it has to support Linux only.
  • RAM: 4 x 8 GByte
    I don’t need 32 GByte for a start, but I wanted to use all 4 memory banks for speed.
  • Disk: 1TByte SSD
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or RTX 2080 Ti
    It has to be Nvidia because of the CUDA support. I was targeting the GTX 1080, but just now Nvidia has announced the RTX 2080. I will wait a month to see what the reviewers say, and how the price of the GTX 1080 Ti develops. For now I have bought a cheap Nvidia to set up the system.
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH D15
  • Power Supply: BeQuiet 700 W ATX
  • Casing: tbd, I’d like to get another LIAN LI casing, they are nice.

Past and Future

After a break of 20 years doing something completely different, I have decided to check out Machine Learning (ML) again. Back then I worked in research of biological neuronal networks.

Now I am interest in the technical networks. With the progress of computing hardware complex applications are possible. Nowadays it is rather easy to get information on this area, the Internet provides access to training and documentation. It is no longer necessary to spend days in the library.

I am starting with the Google Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC). It is a great refresher. It also is an introduction to TensorFlow, a Python framework for machine learning. And you get access to a platform to run the programming exercises, no need to buy a fast computer.

I am positively surprised that I can still remember the basics, after 20 years.