Microsoft Ignite 2023: Custom AI chips, extended copilot experience announced

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday announced a series of new features and services for Windows PC users at its annual ignite 2023 event — a flagship event for IT developers and key decision makers. The announcement included a sweeping array of innovations, comprising around 100 new services and updates, including the introduction of new custom silicon Microsoft Azure Maia and Microsoft Azure Cobalt,

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.(Getty Images via AFP)

The new custom silicons intend to offer customers more flexibility in terms of price and performance for their cloud and AI workloads.

Azure Maia, Microsoft’s latest innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, is a dedicated AI accelerator chip designed to optimize cloud-based training and inferencing for AI workloads. Azure Cobalt is a cloud-native chip designed on the Arm architecture, aimed at delivering optimized performance, power efficiency, and cost-effectiveness for a range of general-purpose workloads.

The introduction of Microsoft Copilot Studio, presented as an end-to-end conversational AI platform, provides organizations the ability to construct their own copilots or modify existing ones with relevant data, logic, and actions tailored to their business needs. Copilot for Microsoft 365 became generally available for enterprises earlier this month.

Microsoft Fabric, currently in use by over 25,000 customers, such as Ernst & Young, Milliman, and Zeiss, is positioned as a platform to reshape how teams collaborate with data. It aims to bring teams together on a unified platform designed for the AI era.

Microsoft also announced the inclusion of Model-as-a-Service in its model catalog, introduced at Microsoft Build. This feature enables professional developers to seamlessly integrate the latest AI models, like Llama 2 from Meta and upcoming premium models from Mistral and Jais from G42, into their applications as API endpoints.

Addressing the increasing importance of security in the age of AI, Microsoft is integrating leading solutions in SIEM, XDR, and generative AI into a unified security operations platform. New embedded experiences of Security Copilot across the Microsoft Security portfolio were also introduced.

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