Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced its partnership agreement with OpenAI to make significant contributions to advance the field of artificial intelligence (AI) by running large-scale experiments on Azure.
OpenAI is a non-profit AI research organization co-founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, and Ilya Sutskever. Its partnership with Microsoft makes Azure its primary cloud platform for deep learning and AI. It will also allow OpenAI to conduct more research, create new tools and technologies that are only possible with the cloud.
Microsoft Azure supports open source technologies
In a blog post, Harry Shum, executive vice president, Microsoft Artificial Intelligence, and Research Group, said, 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).”
Shum noted that OpenAI is an early adopter of Azure N-Series Virtual Machines, which will be available in December. According to him, the virtual machines are designed to handle the most intensive compute workloads such as deep learning, simulations, rendering, and training of neural networks.
The Azure N-Series Virtual Machines is also capable of high-end visualization for workstation and streaming scenarios by utilizing the NVIDIA GRIP in Azure.
The software giant optimized the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit to run in Azure N-Series Virtual Machine powered by NVIDIA Tesla GPUs.
OpenAI impressed with Azure’s hardware configurations
OpenAI’s co-founders said they were impressed with Azure because its hardware configurations are optimized for deep learning. The cloud platform offers K80 GPUs with InfiniBand interconnects at scale. Azure’s roadmap, which would bring Pascal GPUs soon also makes them excited.
“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,” wrote Brockman, Sutskever, and Altman in a blog post.
The OpenAI co-founders intend to share the results of their research to everyone by publishing it. They also plan to continue releasing open-source software to make it easier for people to run large-scale AI workloads on the cloud.
Microsoft launches Azure Bot Service
Additionally, Microsoft introduced Azure Bot Service to help developers accelerate the deployment of bots with the Microsoft Bot Framework and manage them in a serverless environment on Azure.
The bots run on Azure Functions (available today) and can scale on demand. Developers will only pay for the resources consume by their bots. Developers can use Azure Functions to maximize development agility and operational efficiency of almost any app or service at lower cost.
According to Microsoft, more than 50,000 developers are already creating bots with Microsoft Bot Framework. Some companies including Lowe’s, Uber DutchCrafters and AllRecipes.com are transforming their businesses using Azure and Cortana Intelligence.
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