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Microsoft reveals ‘Singularity’ AI infrastructure service

Microsoft Azure and Research teams are working together to build a new AI infrastructure service, called Unity. The Unity Team is working to build what Microsoft describes in some of its team operations as a new AI service from the beginning platform that will be the main driver of AI, both inside and outside Microsoft.

A team of project workers has published a paper entitled “Singularity: Planet-Scale, Preemptible and Elastic Schedules of AI Workloads,” which provides technical details about the Unity effort. The Singularity service is about providing data scientists and AI staff with a way to build, measure, evaluate and replicate their models in a distributed infrastructure service provided by Microsoft specifically built AI.

Authors listed on the newly published paper include Azure Chief Technical Officer Mark Russinovich; Partner Architect Rimma Nehme, who worked on Azure Cosmos DB until moving to Azure to work on AI and deep learning in 2019; and Technical Fellow Dharma Shukla. From that paper:

“At the heart of Singularity is a novel, workload-aware scheduler that can transparently preempt and elastically scale deep learning workloads to drive high utilization without impacting their correctness or performance, across a global fleet of accelerators (e.g., GPUs, FPGAs).”

Microsoft officials previously have discussed plans to make FPGAs, or field-programmable gate arrays, available to customers as a service. In 2018, Microsoft went public about its “Project Brainwave” work which was designed to provide fast AI processing in Azure.” At that time, Microsoft made available a preview of Azure Machine Learning Hardware Accelerated Models powered by Brainwave in the cloud — a first step in making FPGA processing for AI workloads available to customers. ZDNet

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