Nvidia, Microsoft to Join Forces on ‘Supercomputer’ AI Project

Nvidia and Microsoft say they are coming together to build one of the most powerful AI supercomputers on the planet.

In Jonathan Swift’s epic satire “Gulliver’s Travels,” the titular hero visits a place called Brobdingrag, which is occupied by giants.

Two tech giants on Nov.                                         16 came together to announced a deal of potentially Brobdingnagian proportions.

Semiconductor maker Nvidia  (NVDA) – Get Free Report and software titan Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Free Report unveiled a multi-year collaboration to build one of the most powerful AI supercomputers on the planet. 

The news comes on the same day that Nvidia is scheduled to post third-quarter earnings after the closing bell. The companies did not indicate the value of the deal.

The project will be powered by Microsoft’s Azure advanced supercomputing infrastructure combined with Nvidia GPUs, networking and full stack of AI software.

‘The Next Wave of Automation’

“AI is fueling the next wave of automation across enterprises and industrial computing, enabling organizations to do more with less as they navigate economic uncertainties,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud + AI Group at Microsoft, said in a statement

“Our collaboration with NVIDIA unlocks the world’s most scalable supercomputer platform, which delivers state-of-the-art AI capabilities for every enterprise on Microsoft Azure,” Guthrie added.

Manuvir Das, vice president of enterprise computing at Nvidia said “our collaboration with Microsoft will provide researchers and companies with state-of-the-art AI infrastructure and software to capitalize on the transformative power of AI.”

As part of the deal, Nvidia will use Azure’s scalable virtual machine instances to research and further accelerate advances in generative AI, which allows computers to learn fundamental patterns relevant to input, which is then used to manufacture similar content.

The companies will also collaborate to enhance Microsoft’s DeepSpeed deep learning optimization software. Nvidia’s full stack of AI workflows and software development kits, optimized for Azure, will be made available to Azure enterprise customers.

Last month, Microsoft posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, but noted that revenues for Azure rose 35% from last year, slowing notably from its prior quarter gains in the mid to high 40-percent range.

‘Augment the Workforce’

But make no mistake, AI is big news. A report by Deloitte released last month found that 94% of business leaders surveyed agree that AI is critical to success over the next five years. 

“Many organizations have begun to realize the benefits of using AI to augment the workforce, rather than replace as many jobs as possible,” the report said, noting that a number of companies “are taking action to support a human-machine collaboration strategy.”

The Deloitte study also found that many organizations “are struggling with middling results, despite increased deployment activity.” 

Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported achieving full-scale deployment for three or more types of AI applications, up from 62% last year. 

Yet, the percentage of respondents that now find themselves in the underachievers category — High-deployed / Low-achieving — rose to 22% this year from 17% last year.

Last week Nvidia’s shares climbed after the company confirmed a Reuters report that the chipmaker had developed a new semiconductor it could sell to customers in China without violating new U.S. export restrictions.

Nvidia said the advanced A800 graphics processing unit (GPU) could be used in place of A100 chips made by Nvidia that are currently on the list of technologies banned from sale in China by the U.S. government.

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