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Elon Musk Using Azure to Bolster AI Research

OpenAI, which was founded in late 2015, represents a joint venture between Sam Altman and Elon Musk to facilitate the development of highly advanced artificial intelligence algorithms. Best known as a prolific inventor as well as the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, critics have viewed this project as little more than the latest endeavor of an overly enthusiastic individual. However, the fact that Microsoft is joining the team might be enough to fuel interest of OpenAI.

A rather unexpected move to say the least, the announcement was delivered only a month before OpenAI's first birthday. Per the agreement, Musk and Altman will run the majority of their AI research within Microsoft's Azure cloud service. Interestingly enough, Amazon Web Services is listed amongst OpenAI's primary financial supporters.

The OpenAI platform will ultimately be powered by a series of graphic chipsets designed by Nvidia Corporation. Known for producing some of the best graphic cards for high-end gaming today, their latest chips will be used to support deep learning functionality, computer simulations and load-intensive operations. Tens of thousands of machines will be used in order to accommodate the sophisticated analyses and digital modeling that is expected to be performed on the hardware.

Microsoft officials spoke enthusiastically about the agreement in a recent blog post by stating: "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."

As mentioned previously, it took just under a year for Microsoft to pledge their support to the OpenAI initiative. This could be a result of the OpenAI Gym, which serves as a testing center for AI technology and research.

Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, described his project's objectives in a recent interview. He was quoted as saying: "Microsoft is the large tech company most aligned with us in terms of the goal of democratization to AI technology. This is our most important goal. We are going to create a very important technology. That should belong to everyone in the world. We don’t want to see that concentrated in a single government, certainly not in a single company."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has already stated that the company hopes to accumulate $20 billion in yearly cloud revenue by the year 2018. Perhaps even more importantly, Microsoft is trying to position themselves in an industry that has been dominated by the likes of Facebook and Google, both of whom have made massive investments in the niche of AI within the past few years. Given the recent partnership with OpenAI, it's safe to say that Microsoft will reach that goal.

As you can see, the race for highly advanced artificial intelligence is ramping up to unprecedented levels. With evolving technology and new breakthroughs being made almost daily, even the experts can't predict what will come next. However, given how competitive the field of AI has become as of late, it's safe to say that the game is just beginning.


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