back to article Microsoft, OpenAI may be dreaming of $100B 5GW AI 'Stargate' supercomputer

OpenAI is believed to be in talks with Microsoft to construct a massive supercomputer code-named Stargate containing millions of AI accelerators at a cost of up to $100 billion. Citing sources, The Information reports [paywall] that Microsoft is deciding whether to finance the project, which might cost as much as 100 times …

  1. t245t Silver badge
    Joke

    Apophis is a more apt designation /s

    “Know this, Tau'ri scum. Your naivety is staggering. We have cunningly deceived you into surrendering your entire existence to the cloud. Now, with copies of our vast language models at our disposal, we possess absolute knowledge of your every move. In the virtual abyss, we shall assert our dominance over you for all eternity.”

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Apophis is a more apt designation /s

      And you'll never be able to tell who is Tau'ri and who has one of our controlling AI chips implanted within, for we have Musk under our control already.

      Wheres a Jack o'Neill (2 Ls ) when you need him?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Apophis is a more apt designation /s

      “Know this, Tau'ri scum. Your naivety is staggering. We have cunningly deceived you into surrendering your entire existence to the cloud. Now, with copies of our vast language models at our disposal, we possess absolute knowledge of your every move. In the virtual abyss, we shall assert our dominance over you for all eternity.” .... t245t

      Many a true word is spoke and cloaked in jest, t245t, and to imagine AI² a Generative Pre-trained Transformer Tool with the likes of a Microsoft [or a Google or an Apple or a State or an Oligarch or a Fascist Elder of Zion type Despot or crazy sociopathic lunatic or solitary genius, etc etc] able to provide and exercise absolutely, autonomously and anonymously, remote virtual command and practical ACTive control is no joke and way too far beyond belief to ever be possible ... or acceptable to Universal Suppliers of Secret Resources and their Future Builder Allies and Virtually Augmented Advanced IntelAIgent Reality Contractors. :-)

      Poe’s Law Rules in Right Royal Reigns of the Sublime and the Supreme and the Surreal :-)

    3. Ken G Silver badge

      Re: Apophis is a more apt designation /s

      I'd have gone with SuperClippie!

  2. the spectacularly refined chap

    Obscene

    This is over 1.5x what Hinckley Point C is designed to produce, a project that has been the subject of political controversy for more than a decade and is still years from completion.

    Forget any notion of green credentials, this just proves the almighty dollar is paramount in the minds at MS and fuck the consequences. What else could that power be used for more productively?

    It also once again shows there has really been no AI "revolution", just big companies squandering ridiculous levels of resources for benefits of questionable value, in hope of a long term payback.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Obscene

      I am moved to wonder what the hell the requirement for this sort of place is (apart from district heating).

      Obviously MS isn't going to put a hundred billion into anything if they're not expecting a return significantly larger than this but I can't help feeling that this looks like a serious case of executive floor buzzword bingo.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obscene

        I am moved to wonder what the hell the requirement for this sort of place is (apart from district heating).

        Better quality AI "adult content"

        Politico-fakes to interfere in elections

        AI bragging rights

        Beyond that I'm running out of credible applications.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obscene

      Add to that value:

      https://www.theregister.com/2024/03/31/microsoft_copilot_hardware/

      "Why Microsoft's Copilot will only kinda run locally on AI PCs for now"

      That probably explains a lot of why Microsoft for once lets run things (partly, except telemetry) things locally. It might require another 10x in power and would not only be horrible expensive, but expose excessive strains on electricity supply, water consumption and sustainability a lot clearer leading to much more popular and legal resistance against it. It would also water down the claim that AI will solve things like Earths global warming problem and resource (water) scarcity among many other utopian things it is promised to bring us.

    3. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Obscene

      The insanity of IT and tech where all sense goes out of the window in the constant quest to make stuff better.

      Much of the tech we have access to is a staggering waste of resources, it adds absolutely no tangible value to society and in many cases is actually detrimental.

      It is not just power used on operation but all the elements & powered needed to make the equipment.

      I don't care that people like Amazon and MS claim their datacentres are green. Most of that power could be put to far better use, maybe reducing costs for industries that actually make useful goods or food.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obscene

        "I don't care that people like Amazon and MS claim their datacentres are green. Most of that power could be put to far better use, maybe reducing costs for industries that actually make useful goods or food."

        Well, contracting with any existing plant isn't "green" as that capacity was already in use. The only argument for a facility being "green" is if the power comes exclusively from new dedicated capacity.

    4. StargateSg7

      Re: Obscene

      I couldn't resist replying to this thread. Ironically, i live and work in the city WHERE Stargate SG1 was filmed aka Vancouver, Canada so my next few paragraphs are quite apropos.

      In the TV show, Stargates are built and powered by Naquada which is a fictional super-metal. In real life, Microsoft can use Hydroelectric power depending on the State or Province they are locating their supercomputers in.

      Here in British Columbia, Canada we produce so much hydro power that i can get down to below 10 cents a kilowatt/hour so such a system is not that hard to build

      I do have a big issue with the $100 Billion USD price tag since our parent company NCA (North Canadian Aerospace) who DOES in fact have the five fastest Supercomputers on Earth at over 20 YottaFLOPS at 128-bits wide computations, our inhouse materials and labour cost over 25 years of construction came out to less than FIVE Billion CDN or three and a half Billion USD. Yes we design and make our own combined-CPU/GPU/DSP/Vector super-chips in Vancouver but even we are nowhere near $100 BILLION USD! Where did they come up with such an outlandish number?

      V

      1. bigphil9009

        Re: Obscene

        Open sourced that LiFePO4 battery design yet fella? Or was that just another big pile of shite like all your other claims?

  3. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Stargate?

    Are these people so lacking in the history of SF film[1] that they think Stargate is a good representative of what an AI supercomputer can do?

    What about Colossus ("Thank you, Dr Forbin") or Proteus IV (just keep it away from electric wheelchairs) or Edgar (avoid spilling champagne on it)?

    What notable AI is there in Stargate that they want us to think about and associate with OpenAI? None! Well, there are The Replicators, but - no, they couldn't be? If they introduce their new CTO Reese and start talking about "making toys" then run, just run!

    [1] good thing they are not as unaware of the history of, say, computing, eh! Hang on what was that? No! Really? Yikes!

    1. Moldskred

      Re: Stargate?

      "Are these people so lacking in the history of SF film[1] that they think Stargate is a good representative of what an AI supercomputer can do?"

      I think there's a good case to be made that many of the major players in the surprisingy cult-like world behind much of the current AI craze, are people who consume a lot of science fiction but rarely digest it.

    2. The Bobster

      Re: Stargate?

      Nomad, Agimus, Daystrom M-5 or, my favourite, Landru.

  4. steamnut

    Surely not?

    I think that, although there were no specific clues, this must be an April fool story. $100bn - really?

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Surely not?

      .., and tongue in cheek they should obvs. call it Skynet..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surely not?

      They spend well over 10 billion on an upstart called OpenAI last year alone, decided and finalized months after OpenAI made it's big splash. So why wouldn't they spend 100 / 4 = 25 billion a year?

  5. ccureau
    Black Helicopters

    Time travel anyone?

    Seeing as it only takes a Delorean and 1.21 Gigawatts of power... That's a net savings of 3.79!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Correction

      I think Doc's Delorean needed 1.21 jiggawatts. Someone give Sam a Mr Fusion and some banana peel.

      C.

      1. t245t Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Correction

        I've never understood why the DeLorean time machine needs to be at 88 miles per hour when the earth orbits galactic center at 514,800 miles per hour.

        1. bemusedHorseman
          Alien

          Re: Correction

          It might require a velocity relative to the nearest gravity well rather than absolute position in the universe. Like how the time jump gear from MIB3 required falling at terminal velocity, a relative acceleration of zero compared to the earth, in order to do the time warp...

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Correction

            Its astounding, time is fleeting...

            1. KarMann Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: Correction

              What's your favourite band?

              Madness,

              Takes its toll.

              1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

                Re: Correction

                Not for very much longer

      2. AceRimmer1980
        Boffin

        Re: Correction

        3.3GW from 3 reactors, that sounds about right.

  6. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul

    Buying the output of an existing nuclear power plant is not "green" as it simply forces everyone else to use power other sources, and that is largely carbon based for now.

  7. rgjnk
    Devil

    Has to be a joke

    The thing would be obsolete before you finished it, and even if not then within 3/5 years it (like most of the hyper computers) would hit the point of not being worth the energy to run it and would be scrap.

    Weirdly I suspect even Microsoft wouldn't burn $100 billion on a stupid project with no clear goal or practicality, that's just a leap too far even for them. They're already struggling with justifying their AI investments as customers ignore them.

    This just smells of the usual OpenAI/Sam hype where throwing silly amounts of other people's money down a hole is the whole game, and reality isn't involved at all. It'll evaporate like his multi trillion dollar plan seems to be.

  8. PeterM42
    Devil

    And then......

    .... a flash of lightning welded the power switch ON.

    And an apocryphal deep voice boomed, "There is a God NOW!"

  9. PeterM42
    Facepalm

    PS

    Will it fix the potholes in our roads?

    If not, I can certainly think of something better to spend the money on.

  10. druck Silver badge
    Stop

    All these 100's of billions...

    ...and you know who has not received a penny?

    All the creators of original text, images and video which has been scraped from the internet without permission, circumventing copyright and licencing, and is being exploited for money by the AI companies, Microsoft in particular.

  11. AceRimmer1980

    Indeed

    Just the one? They'll need to Macgyver together at least 2 more.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    One heck of a lot of money

    Just to get the computer to say in a nice voice...

    "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that."

    or

    "Computer says No. Now get out on the streets and let my VC owners take control of the putrid shack that is costing you $2000/month."

    Or words to that effect.

    We are doomed I tell ye, doomed.

  13. Doctor Tarr

    Dr Evil

    I would have loved presenting that business case. I wouldn’t have been able to resist putting my pinky in my mouth when I said one hundred billion dollars - evil laugh optional.

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