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OpenAI’s $100 Billion Supercomputer: Microsoft to build ‘Stargate’ to power OpenAI’s next generation of AI systems

In an ambitious move set to reshape the landscape of artificial intelligence (AI), Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to build a colossal $100 billion supercomputer dubbed “Stargate,” according to a report from The Information. Stargate is reportedly the fifth and final phase of Microsoft and OpenAI’s vision to build multiple supercomputer facilities across the United States.

Spanning several hundred acres and potentially requiring up to 5 gigawatts of power, Stargate is envisioned as one of the largest and most advanced data centers globally. Its projected opening is slated for as early as 2028, contingent upon OpenAI’s ability to deliver its next major AI upgrade, anticipated to be rolled out by early 2025.

“Executives at Microsoft and OpenAI have been drawing up plans for a data center project that would contain a supercomputer with millions of specialized server chips to power OpenAI’s artificial intelligence, according to three people who have been involved in the private conversations about the proposal. The project could cost as much as $100 billion, according to a person who spoke to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman about it and a person who has viewed some of Microsoft’s initial cost estimates,” The Information reported.

The name “Stargate” draws inspiration from the 1994 science-fiction film of the same name, featuring an interstellar teleportation device discovered in Egypt. The film’s narrative revolves around a gateway leading to a distant planet, serving as a source of liberation from a tyrannical entity, inspiring the ethos behind OpenAI and Microsoft’s AI supercomputer.

The decision to embark on the Stargate endeavor underscores Microsoft’s commitment to fostering groundbreaking advancements in AI technology. Amidst speculations surrounding OpenAI’s next major AI iteration, rumored to be GPT-5, slated for release in 2025, Microsoft seeks assurance that OpenAI continues to drive innovation in AI models, particularly following reported setbacks, such as the failure to launch the “Arrakis” AI project in 2023, attributed to the limitations of existing supercomputing infrastructure.

The emergence of Stargate also sheds light on recent speculations surrounding Sam Altman’s involvement in establishing a high-end AI chip manufacturing facility. With Nvidia GPUs serving as a critical component in powering Stargate, securing a steady supply amid ongoing shortages presents a significant challenge. However, Microsoft’s formidable entry into the domain could potentially disrupt the status quo and provide a competitive edge in the AI hardware landscape.

In February, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was reportedly planning to raise up to $7 trillion in new funding following a $5 billion investment in R&D to advance semiconductor technologies made in the USA.

OpenAI, founded in 2015 by Sam Altman and Elon Musk as a non-profit research institution, aimed to pave the way for safe and beneficial artificial general intelligence (AGI). However, in 2020, it transitioned into a commercial entity, marking a significant shift in its trajectory. Despite internal disruptions in November, including Altman’s temporary departure and subsequent return, the company remains at the forefront of the burgeoning AI market, spurred by the successful launch of ChatGPT in 2022.

 


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