November 15, 2023
Microsoft has recently revealed the specifications of its new AI chips that are designed to boost the performance and efficiency of its cloud computing platform, Azure. These chips, named Maia and Cobalt, are custom-made by Microsoft to handle the most demanding AI workloads, such as natural language processing, computer vision, and deep learning.
Maia is a CPU (central processing unit) that can run both general-purpose and AI-specific tasks. It has 128 cores, which means it can process 128 instructions at the same time. It also has a large cache memory of 256MB, which allows it to store frequently used data for faster access. Maia can support up to 2TB of RAM (random access memory), which is the temporary storage space for data and programs that are currently in use.
Cobalt is a GPU (graphics processing unit) that is specialized for AI tasks that require a lot of parallel computations, such as matrix multiplications. It has 512 tensor cores, which are dedicated units for performing these operations. It also has a huge memory bandwidth of 1.6TB per second, which means it can transfer a lot of data in and out of the chip very quickly. Cobalt can support up to 64GB of HBM2e (high bandwidth memory), which is a type of memory that is optimized for high-speed data transfer.
Together, Maia and Cobalt form a powerful combination that can run AI models faster and more efficiently than conventional chips. Microsoft claims that its new chips can deliver up to 10 times the performance per watt of the current chips in Azure. This means that they can do more work with less energy consumption, which is good for the environment and the cost of cloud computing.
Microsoft plans to use its new chips to power its own AI services, such as Bing, Cortana, and Azure Cognitive Services. It also intends to offer them to its cloud customers, who can use them to build and deploy their own AI applications. Microsoft says that its new chips will be available in Azure in the second half of 2024.
Microsoft's new AI chips are a testament to the rapid advancement of AI technology and the growing demand for cloud computing. They are also a sign of the increasing competition among the tech giants, such as Google, Amazon, and Nvidia, who are also developing their own AI chips. With these new chips, Microsoft hopes to gain an edge in the AI market and provide its customers with the best cloud experience possible. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of the latest news in artificial intelligence!