Microsoft wants to address the need for AI by customizing everything from silicon to services through a system approach to chips.
The Microsoft Azure Maia AI Accelerator, which is optimized for artificial intelligence (AI) tasks and generative AI, and the Microsoft Azure Cobalt CPU, an Arm-based processor designed to run general-purpose compute workloads on the Microsoft Cloud, are two custom-designed chips and integrated systems that Microsoft unveiled at its Ignite Conference.
The chips are the final component that Microsoft needs to supply infrastructure systems, which range from servers, racks, and cooling systems to silicon selections, software, and entire designs that can be tailored to the specific demands of both internal and external users.
“Microsoft is building the infrastructure to support AI innovation, and we are reimagining every aspect of our datacenters to meet the needs of our customers. At the scale we operate, it’s important for us to optimize and integrate every layer of the infrastructure stack to maximize performance, diversify our supply chain, and give customers infrastructure choice," Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud + AI Group Scott Guthrie stated.
The Azure Maia 100 AI Accelerator is the first product that Microsoft has created specifically for large language model training and inferencing within the Microsoft Cloud, according to the company.
As per Microsoft, their first CPU designed just for the Microsoft Cloud is the Azure Cobalt 100.
According to Microsoft, the chips would be sent out to its datacenters early in the next year, first supporting the company's services, including Azure OpenAI Service or Microsoft Copilot. To fulfill the demands of customers eager to take advantage of the newest cloud and AI innovations, as well as the rapidly growing demand for efficient, scalable, and sustainable compute power, they will join an expanding selection of solutions from industry partners.
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