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Microsoft creates huge, better AI powerful computers


To address a new class of artificial intelligence tasks, the Azure machine has 285,000 processor core and 10,000 GPUs.

Microsoft has built a huge artificial intelligence supercomputer, a new direction for its Azure cloud computing service. The machine has 285,000 processor cores boosted by 10,000 OpenAI graphics chips, a company that wants to ensure that AI technology helps people.

Microsoft announced the machine Tuesday at its Developers' Build Conference. (Check ZDNet's full coverage of Build for more details on the event.) Supercomputers, the most powerful computing machines on the planet, are typically used for the most taxing problems. That includes jobs such as simulating explosions of nuclear weapons, predicting the future climate of the Earth and, more recently, seeking drugs to combat coronavirus. In the case of Microsoft, it is used to develop the AI systems which can then be operated elsewhere.

A hallmark of supercomputers is a gigantic amount of memory, and fast processor connections. That, in effect, allows a supercomputer to concentrate better on a single more complicated problem than a larger group of cheaper, lesser machines. Microsoft and OpenAI believe that AI will bring new sophistication to its massive computer.

"Learns from examining billions of pages of publicly available text," Microsoft said in a statement, is good for AI. "This type of model can absorb nuances of language , grammar, knowledge, concepts and context so deeply that it can excell in multiple tasks: summing up a lengthy speech, moderating content in live gaming chats, finding relevant passages across thousands of legal files or even generating code from scouring GitHub," Microsoft's open-source programming collaboration site.

Microsoft announced OpenAI 's multi-year supercomputer partnership in 2019 including Microsoft's $1 billion investment.

Researchers at the Top500 project rank supercomputers in speed twice each year, which scores machines based on how fast they perform a mathematical-calculation test called Linpack. Microsoft said it would score its Azure machine in the top 5 of such systems, but it didn't release any performance scores or detail the system design.

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Article Edited by | John Heine |

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