Microsoft and OpenAI plan US$1B AI supercomputer

Microsoft and OpenAI plan to build US$100 billion "Stargate" supercomputer for next-gen AI.

Microsoft and OpenAI plan US$1B AI supercomputer
Image Credit: DALLE-3

Microsoft and OpenAI plan to build US$100 billion "Stargate" supercomputer for next-gen AI.

As reported by The Information, there are plans afoot to build a massive new supercomputer to power AI.

  • Five-phase plan spanning six years.
  • Known as "Stargate".
  • Launch in 2028.

According to the report, plans are already drawn up for this unprecedented data centre project.

🤝 An AI partnership

OpenAI currently uses Microsoft data centres to power ChatGPT. In return, Microsoft has exclusive rights to resell OpenAI's tech to its own customers.

  • Sell Copilot for Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
  • Run private GPT instances on Azure cloud.
  • Windows Copilot, Copilot app (Free).

OpenAI is clearly seeking even more processing capabilities. However, this plan hinges on OpenAI fulfilling its promise to boost its AI's capabilities.

The hefty price tag is likely due to the powerful GPUs required; the data centre will also consume an incredible amount of power - at least several gigawatts.

🏢 Multiple data centres

While the report stressed that it is not clear if Stargate will be built in one data centre or several, my take is that it will probably be a data centre campus of several buildings.

Large, multi-data centre deployments are not new.

  • In 2016, I wrote about how AWS designs its availability zones (AZ) with multiple data centres connected by 100Gbps connectivity - and as many as 5 AZs with over 100k separate fibre strands.
  • Moreover, today's hyperscale data centres are also typically campus deployments with multiple data centres to be built in phases.

Interestingly, Singapore does have a few standalone data centres located adjacent to each other:

  • STT GDC's 2 data centres at Defu.
  • Equinix's SG1 and SG3 at Ayer Rajah.
  • Google's 2 data centres in Jurong West*.

*Google has 3 data centres in Singapore; the third is some distance away.

⛳ Challenges to overcome

There are some challenges that Microsoft will need to overcome. As noted by the report, they are:

  1. Putting more GPUs in a rack.
  2. The problem of power.

I'll share my thoughts about these two points in a separate post later this week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, did the name "Stargate" give anyone else the creeps, too?