Microsoft and Graphcore have been collaborating closely for over two years and have recently shared the details of the preview of the Graphcore Intelligence Processing Units(IPU’s) on Microsoft Azure. Since the collaboration, the Microsoft team, led by Marc Tremblay, Distinguished Engineer, has been developing systems for Azure and has been enhancing advanced machine vision and Natural Language Processing (NLP) models on IPUs.
Nigel Toon, the co-founder and CEO of Graphcore stated, “This is the first time a major public cloud vendor is offering Graphcore IPUs which are built from the ground up to support next generation machine learning.” in the blogpost of Graphcore, also added, “It’s a landmark moment for Graphcore and is testament to the maturity of our patented IPU technology, both of our IPU hardware and of Poplar software stack.”
Graphcore’s IPU is a highly flexible, easy to use, parallel processor that has been designed from the ground up to deliver state of the art performance on today’s machine intelligence models for both training and inference and is completely different from the contemporary CPU and GPU processors.
The IPU has been designed to allow new and emerging machine intelligence workloads to be realized and has the ability to keep the entire machine learning knowledge model inside the processor; this is what makes the IPU unique. With 16 IPU processors, all connected with IPU-Link technology in a server, an IPU system will have over 100,000 completely independent programs, all working in parallel on the machine intelligence knowledge model.
The IPU will open new areas of research and allow companies to explore new techniques and to build more efficient machine learning systems that can be trained with much less data.
The Graphcore IPU preview on Azure is now open for customer sign-up with access prioritized for those focused on pushing the boundaries of NLP and developing new breakthroughs in machine intelligence.