Microsoft, OpenAI to build new Azure supercomputing technologies

Photo by Stephen Brashear

Microsoft and OpenAI have partnered to further extend Microsoft Azure’s capabilities in large-scale AI systems and accelerate breakthroughs in AI and power OpenAI’s efforts to create artificial general intelligence (AGI).

The resulting enhancements to the Azure platform will also help developers build the next generation of AI applications.

Through the partnership, Microsoft and OpenAI will jointly build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies. OpenAI will port its services to run on Microsoft Azure, which it will use to create new AI technologies and deliver on the promise of artificial general intelligence. Also, Microsoft will become OpenAI’s preferred partner for commercialising new AI technologies

The two companies will focus on building a computational platform in Azure “of unprecedented scale,” which will train and run increasingly advanced AI models, and include hardware technologies that build on Microsoft’s supercomputing technology.

This will create the foundation for advancements in AI to be implemented in a safe, secure and trustworthy way and is a critical reason the companies chose to partner together.

OpenAI and Microsoft’s vision is for AGI to work with people to help solve currently intractable multidisciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, more personalised healthcare and education.

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,” said Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.

“Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity, and we’re working with Microsoft to build the supercomputing foundation on which we’ll build AGI,” Altman said. “We believe it’s crucial that AGI is deployed safely and securely and that its economic benefits are widely distributed.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that by bringing together OpenAI’s breakthrough technology with new Azure AI supercomputing technologies, their intention is to democratise AI — while always keeping AI safety front and centre — “so everyone can benefit.”