Report Indicates Microsoft Working on AI Chip

Microsoft reportedly is working on a chip, code-named "Athena," that will support large language models used with artificial intelligence (AI) applications, according to a report by The Information (paywalled).

The Athena chip has been under development "since as early as 2019," according to The Information's unnamed sources. It's currently being tested by "a small group of Microsoft and Open AI employees." The aim in advancing the AI chip is to avoid costs associated with using Nvidia's GPUs, according to a story by The Verge. Other cloud service providers make their own AI chips, and so Microsoft is doing the same, it's said.

A story by indicated that more than 300 people are working on Athena, with an AI chipset expected next year. It's not clear if this AI chip will be part of Azure services.

"It's likewise not clear what this means to Microsoft’s supercomputer partnership with Nvidia," the story added.

I requested further information from Microsoft, but there's been no word back so far. Update 4/18: "Microsoft has nothing to share."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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