News & Analysis Data Centers Hit the Accelerator

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Kushagra Vaid wants a new kind of computer server, one more suitable for large-scale data centers and machine learning. The general manager of engineering of Microsoft’s cloud computing division is not alone. Technical leaders from all the hyperscale data centers, processor vendors and many others are seeking the same Holy Grail—an architecture tuned for so-called deep neural networks. The emerging algorithms have been gaining traction in a wide variety of pattern-matching jobs from serving up Facebook news feeds to piloting self-driving cars and beating the human champion of Go. At a time when performance benefits of Moore’s law are coming more slowly at higher cost, even standard computer jobs are feeling the need for a boost. So the great accelerator race has begun. Some like Vaid at Microsoft…


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