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The tech giant continues to leverage its investment in OpenAI.

Microsoft announced this week that it is extending its Azure cloud platform thanks to a new instance family designed to run artificial intelligence (AI) models.

The new instance family is called the ND H100 v5 series and is currently available in preview.

Matt Vegas, Microsoft’s Principal Product Manager for Azure HPC+AI, detailed the new offering in a blog post. “Today, Microsoft is introducing the ND H100 v5 VM which enables on-demand in sizes ranging from eight to thousands of NVIDIA H100 GPUs interconnected by NVIDIA Quantum-2 InfiniBand networking”, Vegas wrote.

Leveraging generative AI technology

“The Microsoft Azure cloud, and specifically our graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerated virtual machines (VMs), provide the foundation for many generative AI advancements from both Microsoft and our customers”, Vegas continued.

Generative AI refers to a category of artificial intelligence algorithms that “generate” new outputs based on the data they have been trained on. It uses a type of deep learning called generative adversarial networks and has a wide range of applications, including creating images, text and audio.

Enabling and enhancing ChatGPT

Greg Brockman, President and Co-Founder of OpenAI, acknowledged the generative AI advantages that his company had gained by partnering with Microsoft. “Co-designing supercomputers with Azure has been crucial for scaling our demanding AI training needs, making our research and alignment work on systems like ChatGPT possible”, he said.

Indeed, the H100 includes a specialized module, known as the Transformer Engine, that is designed to speed up AI models based on the Transformer neural network architecture. The architecture powers many advanced AI models including OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot.

Microsoft’s Vegas also praised the results of the partnership and what it had brought to his company’s Azure cloud platform. “Our initial investments in large language model research…prepared us for the moment when generative artificial intelligence became possible”, he wrote.

“Azure services like Azure Machine Learning make our AI supercomputer accessible to customers for model training and Azure OpenAI Service enables customers to tap into the power of large-scale generative AI models”.