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Big Tech develops AI networking standard but without chip leader Nvidia

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Big Tech develops AI networking standard but without chip leader Nvidia
The market leader in AI chips, Nvidia, which holds an 80% market share, is not included in the grouping.

In an attempt to challenge market leader Nvidia’s dominance, major tech companies, including Meta, Microsoft, Advanced Micro Devices, and Broadcom, said on Thursday that they had created a new industry standard for networking in AI data centres.

An open standard for communication between artificial intelligence accelerators, or systems that may assist in processing the enormous volumes of data used in AI jobs, is being attempted to be established with the “Ultra Accelerator Link.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Cisco Systems, and Google—all controlled by Alphabet—are among the other members.

Reasons for its importance
Not included in the grouping is Nvidia, the industry leader in AI chips with a market share of almost 80%.

Giants in the IT industry like Google and Meta are eager to wean themselves off of Nvidia, whose networking division is a crucial component of the package that allows for its dominance in AI. Marvell Technologies, Broadcom’s main competitor in the networking and custom chip markets, is likewise excluded from the group.

Important quote
“For the next generation of AI data centres and implementations, an industry specification becomes critical to standardise the interface for AI and Machine Learning, HPC (high-performance computing), and Cloud applications,” the businesses stated in a statement.

Context: The demand for AI data centres and the chips they run on is rising as a result of tech businesses investing billions of dollars in the hardware needed to enable AI applications.

Specifications controlling connections between various accelerators in a data centre have been designed by the Ultra Accelerator Link group.

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In the third quarter of 2024, companies that become members of the Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Consortium will have access to the specifications.

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