NVIDIA And Microsoft Combine DGX-1 Supercomputer With Azure Cloud To Accelerate AI

Artificial intelligence is at the center of several evolving and next-generation products and services, everything from video games and smartphones (virtual digital assistants and messaging) to self-driving cars and web searchers. It has the attention of companies small and large, including NVIDIA and Microsoft, the two of which are partnering to push AI technologies more aggressively into the enterprise.

What this essentially boils down to is pairing NVIDIA's DGX-1 supercomputer with Microsoft's Azure cloud platform. The idea is to "help companies join the AI revolution" and this partnership means enterprises now have an AI platform that spans from their data center to Microsoft's cloud.


"Every industry has awoken to the potential of AI," said Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and chief executive officer, NVIDIA. "We've worked with Microsoft to create a lightning-fast AI platform that is available from on-premises with our DGX-1 supercomputer to the Microsoft Azure cloud. With Microsoft's global reach, every company around the world can now tap the power of AI to transform their business."

The optimized platform runs the new Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit on NVIDIA's GPUs, including the DGX-1 powered by Pascal with NVLink interconnect technology. It also runs on Azure N-Series virtual machines, which are currently being previewed. This gives customers access to "unprecedented performance" for deep learning applications, and it's easy to use.

It should also speed up adoption, as intended. The Cognitive Toolkit uses a single framework to train models on premises with the DGX-1 or other NVIDIA GPU-based systems, and then run those models in the cloud on Azure. It's a scalable, hybrid solution that fast tracks the path to prototype and deployment for enterprises.

"We're working hard to empower every organization with AI, so that they can make smarter products and solve some of the world's most pressing problems," said Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group at Microsoft. "By working closely with NVIDIA and harnessing the power of GPU-accelerated systems, we've made Cognitive Toolkit and Microsoft Azure the fastest, most versatile AI platform. AI is now within reach of any business."

This is a big deal for both companies, though perhaps more so for NVIDIA. The GPU maker is heavily invested in AI—in just two years, the number of firms NVIDiA collaborates with on deep learning has jumped 194x to 19,000. It spans several industries, such as healthcare, life sciences, energy, automotive, and more.