While the Coronavirus pandemic has stopped large gatherings and conferences, Microsoft Build – the annual developer conference for tech companies – went ahead earlier this week.
Microsoft has developed a new artificial intelligence supercomputer in its Azure Cloud with Open AI and is developing a new Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the first of its planned industry-wide cloud solutions.
According to Kevin Scott, CTO – Microsoft believes its new supercomputer is one of the most powerful in the world.
Kevin Scott said, “We believe that it’s probably right around the fifth most powerful machine in the world, And because we were leveraging all of our Azure infrastructure, we were able to deploy this system in a relatively short period of time, so six months from start to finish. We’re using (this machine) to train these big, self-supervised, deep neural networks that we’re using as platforms for language technologies and vision and speech technologies.
Other development announcements include the introduction of cloud-enabled Azure Synapse Link, a hybrid transaction analytics process known as “Game Changer,” by Scott Guthrie, executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and AI team.
Microsoft is also releasing updates for Azure Arch, which enables Azure services to be deployed anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure. Azure’s extended Azure Stack Hub allows users to run applications and Azure services in an on-premises data center.
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Microsoft’s new Artificial Intelligence (AI) supercomputer is designed to train the largest distributed AI models.
Microsoft has partnered with San Francisco-based AI development and deployment company OpenAI to create a supercomputer, under a partnership announced last year.
Microsoft said the supercomputer is putting the power of the cloud-first. Hosted on Azure, it benefits from all cloud infrastructure capabilities, including rapid deployment, standard data centers, and access to Azure services.
“The exciting thing about these models is the breadth of things they’re going to enable,” Scott said. “This is about being able to do a hundred exciting things in natural language processing at once and a hundred exciting things in computer vision, and when you start to see combinations of these perceptual domains, you’re going to have new applications that are hard to even imagine right now.”
According to Microsoft, Supercomputer is a single system with over 285,000 CPU cores for each GPU server, 10,000 GPUs, and 400 gigabits per second for each GPU server.
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare
The new Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is the first industry-leading cloud offering by Microsoft, which said it would roll out additional clouds for other businesses in the future.
The solution is designed to manage the needs of patients and staff better, improve collaboration among healthcare teams, improve operational and clinical data intelligence, and use resources more efficiently.
Microsoft Cloud Azure for Healthcare combines the capabilities of Microsoft 365, Dynamics, Power Platform, and Azure, allowing access to data analysis across applications using a standard data model.
Starting today, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will be available for public preview and free trial for the next six months. The general availability calendar is expected to begin in the fourth quarter.
With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, organizations can expand the value of Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Azure IoT to deploy a consumer-friendly patient experience, improved patient contact portals, connected physician, referral management, intelligent patient outreach, and ongoing patient monitoring via the internet of things (IoT).
Tom McGuinness, Microsoft’s corporate VP of worldwide health, and Dr. Greg Moore, corporate vice president of Microsoft health, said in a co-written blog post. “The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare extends the value of existing Microsoft cloud services and Teams virtual visits, making it faster and easier for care teams to collaborate, communicate, coordinate care, and generate insights that help improve patient outcomes and workflow effectiveness.”
They said that healthcare systems could use our Microsoft’s Healthcare Partners ecosystem to deliver solutions that complement core cloud capabilities.
Azure Synapse Link
Microsoft has introduced Azure Synapse Link, a cloud-native implementation of hybrid transactional, analytical processing (HTAP) that collab functional database services, and Azure Synapse Analytics in real-time with one click system, without managing data movement or burdening customers, according to the cloud provider.
In General Preview, it is available in Azure Cosmos DP, and in Microsoft’s other functional database services such as Azure SQL, Azure Database for Post creation, and Azure Database for MySQL.
Microsoft previously unveiled Azure Synapse Analytics last November, removing barriers between enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics, allowing data professionals to collaborate and manage their analytics solutions easily.
But one of the fundamental challenges in fast-tracking data is the time it takes to copy data from operational databases – “the thing that’s powering your shopping cart or your order system into an analytic data warehouse,” Guthrie said.
Gathering insights from real-time operating systems is always a challenge. Everything needs to be loaded into memory or quickly copied to data for traditional analysis, says Chris Carvey, vice president of product management at Seattle-based 2nd Watch. Consulting and managed service providers for infrastructure as a service.
“Azure Synapse Link appears to resolve this using the power of distributed cloud compute and persistence,” Garvey said. “It is exciting to see Microsoft continually innovating in the analytics space in the pursuit of bringing an instantaneous view of business metrics to customers without the usual inefficiencies.”
New responsible ML tools
Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and its Open Source Software Toolkit enable new machine learning (ML) tools for customers to use AI models more responsibly – and give them the ability to understand ‘why’ their AI models are behind the scenes.
“Think about…why did you approve or deny a loan application?” Guthrie said. “That’s a really important thing to be able to explain, both from a moral and from a legal perspective. But, traditionally, AI systems haven’t had that. We’re adding those kinds of capabilities into Azure, which is also kind of a first for many cloud providers.”
New model interpretation and integrity estimation capabilities in tools enable the development of more accurate and reasonable models and confidential ML capabilities that provide a safe and reliable environment for ML.
The different proprietary computer capabilities developed by Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the School of Engineering Researchers allow clients to create ML models using sensitive data, while preserving the information of individuals, such as names or dates of birth.
Microsoft has added new capabilities for inheritance and access control of data, models, and tests to help companies meet stringent regulatory requirements. New workflow documentation capabilities will soon be available to enable accountability in the ML process.
Azure Arc and Azure Stack Hub updates
Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes clusters and Azure Arc-enabled SUSE Linux Enterprise Server are now in public preview.
Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes allows customers to scale, organize, manage and manage their Kubernetes clusters from Azure, including Azure Red Hot OpenShift, their data centers, Multi-Cloud and Azure Stack Hub. Azure Arc-enabled SUSE Linux Enterprise Server allows customers to inventory, organize, and manage their multiple environments, including the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Azure.
The new Azure Stack Hub updates are designed to simplify fleet and resource management and enable graphics-heavy displays with GPUs. Azure Stack Hub Fleet Management, which is in private preview, provides customers with a view and management system from Azure for all of their Azure Stack Hub deployment. The Azure Kubernetes Service resource provider on the Azure Stack is also in the private preview. A fully managed service for easy management of containerized applications allows customers to create and manage Kubernetes clusters in Azure StackHub automatically.