We are at an incredible moment in technology history.
Thanks to cloud computing power, more advanced algorithms and the availability of massive amounts of data, the artificial intelligence (AI) field has exploded – allowing computer scientists to create technology many of us only dreamed about just a few years ago.
Using deep learning, computers today can recognize the words in a conversation about as well as a person does and provide real-time translation. Thanks to advances in fields such as reinforcement learning, we are making tangible progress in the effort to build systems that have true artificial intelligence.
At Microsoft, we believe everyone deserves to be able to take advantage of these breakthroughs, in both their work and personal lives.
In short, we are committed to democratizing AI and making it accessible to everyone.
It’s an ambition we share with OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research organization co-founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever.
Today, we’re excited to announce a new partnership with OpenAI focused on making significant contributions to advance the field of AI, while also furthering our mutual goal of using AI to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems.
We’re also excited that OpenAI chose Microsoft Azure as their primary cloud platform, to help advance their research and create new tools and technologies that are only possible with the cloud. 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).
OpenAI is an early adopter of Azure N-Series Virtual Machines, which will be generally available starting in December. These virtual machines are designed for the most intensive compute workloads, including deep learning, simulations, rendering and the training of neural networks. They also enable high-end visualization capabilities to allow for workstation and streaming scenarios by utilizing the NVIDIA GRID in Azure.
In addition to OpenAI, other companies like Esri and Jellyfish Pictures are already using Azure N-Series. Esri is using N-Series GPU capabilities to power its mapping software, and the visual effects studio Jellyfish Pictures uses them to render photo-realistic visual effects and animations at large scale.
As our customers’ computing needs continue to accelerate, we are working in close partnership with partners like NVIDIA to meet those needs. Yesterday we announced that the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit has been optimized to run on Azure N-Series Virtual Machines powered by NVIDIA Tesla GPUs, and we are working together to deliver the next generation of hardware innovation, Pascal-based GPUs on Azure, in the near future.
We also are introducing the Azure Bot Service, a first of its kind in the industry. With this new service, developers can accelerate the development of bots with the Microsoft Bot Framework and easily deploy and manage them in a serverless environment on Azure. Run on Azure Functions, these bots can scale on demand and you only pay for the resources your bots consume. Azure Functions, which is generally available today, can be used to maximize development agility and operational efficiency of nearly any app or service at lower cost.
Our news today builds on other recent Azure releases designed to power AI advances. More than 50,000 developers are already building bots with the Microsoft Bot Framework, and companies such as Lowe’s, Uber, DutchCrafters and AllRecipes.com are using Cortana Intelligence and Azure to transform their businesses.
We’ve made major strides in artificial intelligence just in the past five years, achieving milestones many people who have devoted their lives to the field wouldn’t have thought possible. Now, we have the opportunity to help our partners and customers use these breakthroughs to achieve their goals.
To learn more about how to build intelligent apps, tune into Connect(); on Wednesday.