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Microsoft Building Its Own AI Chip on TSMC’s 5nm Process

Microsoft is internally working on its own artificial intelligence chip called “Athena” and has been working on this project since 2019. information (opens in new tab)An early version of this chip will use Taiwan Semiconductor’s (TSMC) 5-nanometer process, though there could be multiple generations of the chip as part of the project.

information It suggests that at least part of Microsoft’s goal is to save money on buying chips from suppliers like Nvidia.

Microsoft has poured billions into OpenAI, which creates ChatGPT, to move ahead in the burgeoning race to create products powered by artificial intelligence and large language models (LLMs). The Athena chip is reportedly designed to train LLM and similar software, including making inferences from the data the model gets in training.

According to the chip informationThe source of is currently in use among a small number of Microsoft and OpenAI employees. Microsoft may make the chip more widely available “as early as next year,” but it’s unclear if the chip will be open to Azure customers.

Many people training LLMs locally or in the cloud default to Nvidia products, including powerful graphics cards that have proven to be the go-to for companies that don’t have their own chips. . Dylan Patel of research firm Semianalysis said: information “Athena, if competitive, could potentially cut the cost per chip by a third compared to Nvidia’s offering.” Microsoft brings AI capabilities beyond Bing Chat to Office products and GitHub If you add it, the savings can be significant.

Of course, Microsoft isn’t the first to make its own chips. Google, Amazon, and Meta are among the tech giants that have already invested in their own silicon.

Microsoft doesn’t see Athena as a complete replacement for Nvidia. In March, both companies Partnering on Nvidia’s DGX Cloud (opens in new tab) Specifically for AI supercomputing and the Nvidia Omniverse cloud, both powered by Azure and supporting Microsoft 365. The report suggests that Athena could be a “sensitive subject,” but Microsoft reportedly doesn’t see the chip as a “broad replacement for Nvidia products.” increase.

If Microsoft starts producing Athena chips more widely next year, they won’t be on TSMC’s cutting-edge node. But with his billion-dollar investment in OpenAI and early (sometimes reckless) forays into chatbots like Bing Search, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is looking for ways to go further. .

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