Windows OS running on Intel’s processor paved the way for Microsoft’s success during the 80s and 90s; the relationship between the two companies was nicknamed Wintel. Recently Microsoft is planning to create another software-hardware combo to recreate the success and stay ahead in the race to provide AI through the cloud. Microsoft wants to increase the popularity of its cloud platform Azure by using a new type of computer chip designed specifically for the coming AI age. Microsoft has started to provide access to chips made by British startup Graphcore to its customers. Graphcore was founded in 2016 in Bristol, UK, and since then, it has managed to attract the attention of AI researchers and a few hundred million dollars in investment. The company has promised to accelerate the computation needed to make AI work, and it is yet to show the results of the trial.
Last December, Microsoft invested around $200 million as a part of its funding round, and the company is anticipating to make its cloud services more appealing. Graphcore’s processor is designed from scratch, and it is made to support machines with calculations for speech understanding, face recognition, driving cars, parsing language, and training robots. In a recent benchmark published by Microsoft and Graphcore, it pretty evident that the chip exceeds the performance of other top AI chips.