Graphcore and Microsoft announce new AI partnership

South East | South West | Technology

Bristol-based unicorn business Graphcore has announced a new partnership with global tech brand Microsoft, which will see the two companies work together on new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Microsoft will be using Graphcore’s Intelligence Processing Units (IPUs) on its Microsoft Azure software application. This is the first time a major public cloud vendor is offering Graphcore IPUs which are built from the ground up to support next-generation machine learning. It is a landmark moment for Graphcore and is a testament to the maturity of its patented IPU technology.

Microsoft and Graphcore have been collaborating closely for over two years. Over this period, the Microsoft team, led by Marc Tremblay, Distinguished Engineer, has been developing systems for Azure and has been enhancing advanced machine vision and Natural Language Processing (NLP) models on IPUs.

The Graphcore IPU preview on Azure is now open for customer sign-up with access prioritized for those focused on pushing the boundaries of NLP and developing new breakthroughs in machine intelligence.

The IPU has been designed from the ground up by Graphcore to support new breakthroughs in machine intelligence. Together with our production-ready Poplar software stack, it gives developers a powerful, efficient, scalable, and high-performance solution which enables new innovations in AI. Customers can tackle their most difficult AI workloads by accelerating more complex models and developing entirely new techniques.

Girish Bablani, corporate vice president, Azure Compute at Microsoft Corp said: “Natural language processing models are hugely important to Microsoft – to run our internal AI workloads and for our AI customers on Microsoft Azure. We are extremely excited by the potential that this new collaboration on processors with Graphcore will deliver for our customers. The Graphcore offering extends Azure’s capabilities and our efforts here form part of our strategy to ensure that Azure remains the best cloud for AI.”

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