Microsoft introduces its new "Athena" chip to power its machine learning workloads. This will make the already-crowded AI party even more interesting.
April 18, 2023
There was an excellent report from The Information today about how Microsoft is finally developing its own “Athena” custom AI chip. Athena will power the machine learning workloads for Azure’s cloud computing, while also being used internally for Microsoft’s own AI needs.
I say finally because Microsoft has been riding the slowest horse in this AI hardware race. Just about every other hyperscaler has already designed their own AI chips and are commercially manufacturing them. Here’s a look at who’s ahead of them on the track:
While Microsoft may be late, it’s still making quite an entrance. Its investment in OpenAI and its introduction of large language models into its enterprise-embedded applications will serve it well for decades to come.
Now that it has the applications figured out, it can design and create its own in-house chips to optimize its performance. Or potentially save costs, displacing NVIDIA’s (NASDAQ: NVDA) expensive A100 GPUs that it’s currently buying and using to power much of Azure’s computing.
Things are about to get interesting. Cue up the music from the android DJ. It’s time to get this AI party started.
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