OpenAI, a 10 months old non-profit Artificial Intelligence company founded by the likes of Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and others, is getting a new addition, and a big one at that to the list of companies supporting it — it’s Microsoft.
Announcing the same, Harry Shum – Executive VP, Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research Group said,
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.
The partnership, as one would guess, is primarily between Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and OpenAI. In fact OpenAI already 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.
Microsoft believes, that OpenAI primarily chose Azure due to its 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 also an early adopter of Azure N-Series Virtual Machines, which are set to be available generally, starting December this year. 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 for OpenAI, other prominent names who are on its board as advisors or investors include Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, John Schulman, Pamela Vagata, and Wojciech Zaremba. Pieter Abbeel, Yoshua Bengio, Alan Kay, Sergey Levine, and Vishal Sikka from Infosys will be advisors to the group. In addition to these, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk will act as co-chairs in OpenAI.
The company had raised $1 million during its launch in funding from Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, Elon Musk, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research.