OpenAI Adopts Microsoft Azure for AI Research

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Microsoft and OpenAI have partnered to help promote artificial intelligence.

The alliance was announced on Tuesday, promising to use AI to "tackle some of the world's most challenging problems," Redmond's Harry Shum wrote in a blog entry.

"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," Shum, executive vice president of the Microsoft AI and Research Group, added.

By working together, OpenAI will benefit from Microsoft's Azure cloud computing infrastructure which unlocks access to large-scale AI experiments. Microsoft can in return take advantage of OpenAI's artificial intelligence research to improve key services such as real-time translation and voice and conversation recognition.

Elon Musk's nonprofit research firm was drawn to Azure's open-sourced technology, as well as its Batch, Machine Learning, and Cognitive Toolkit capabilities, according to Redmond. The deal also nets OpenAI early access to the software giant's GPU-powered N-Series Virtual Machines, designed for deep learning and other intensive workloads.

"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," an OpenAI blog announcement said.

The company, co-founded by Tesla CEO Musk and Y Combinator's Sam Altman, debuted in December, backed by industry heavyweights Ilya Sutskever, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research. In June, the group announced plans for three artificial intelligence projects, including a robot butler.

Microsoft this week also launched its Azure Bot Service, a new program that allows developers to easily deploy and manage bots on Azure.

"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," Shum wrote. "Now, we have the opportunity to help our partners and customers use these breakthroughs to achieve their goals."

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