Microsoft is teaming up with Elon Musk’s OpenAI, the non-profit artificial intelligence research company.
OpenAi announced on Tuesday it will work with Microsoft to start running the cloud platform Azure, making it the primary cloud system that OpenAI uses for deep learning and artificial intelligence, a move Microsoft said it was “excited” about.
“OpenAI chose Microsoft due to our deep learning research and ongoing commitment to AI, along with Azure’s support for open source technologies and its unique combination of high performance computing, big data and intelligence capabilities such as Azure Batch, Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (formerly CNTK),” said Microsoft in a statement.
The partnership will work on “democratizing AI and making it accessible to everyone,” Microsoft says. The company plans to make this happen by taking that intelligence and infusing it into everyday devices and apps. "We’re building the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer and making it available to anyone, via the cloud, to enable all to harness its power and tackle AI challenges, large and small,” said Microsoft back in September.
OpenAI also expressed its admiration for Microsoft.
“Azure has impressed us by building hardware configurations optimized for deep learning — they offer K80 GPUs with InfiniBand interconnects at scale. We're also excited by their roadmap, which should soon bring Pascal GPUs onto their cloud,” OpenAI said in a statement.
“In the coming months we will use thousands to tens of thousands of these machines to increase both the number of experiments we run and the size of the models we train,” added the company.
OpenAI has been an early client of Azure N-Series Virtual Machines, which are designed for “the most intensive compute workloads,” including deep learning, simulations, rendering and the training of neural networks. The virtual machines will be available in December.
Microsoft also introduced on Tuesday the Azure Bot Service, the industry’s first cloud bot-as-a-service.
OpenAI was launched in December by Musk, who leads Tesla Motors Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies. Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever are co-founders with Musk. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is also part of OpenAI.