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IBM Watson supercomputer
IBM’s Watson AI software is best-known for winning at “Jeopardy!” in 2011. (Credit: IBM)

IBM says it will become the first major cloud provider to offer NVIDIA’s Tesla P100 graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerator worldwide on its cloud.

Making the announcement this morning, IBM said its cloud customers will be able to use the GPU accelerator for applications such as artificial intelligence, deep learning and and high-performance data analytics. The accelerator can support the types of intensive workloads required by high-throughput applications used in business sectors such as financial services, energy and healthcare.

“IBM’s new offering will provide organizations with near-instant access to Tesla P100 to test and run applications that have the potential to solve problems that were once unsolvable,” said Ian Buck, general manager of Accelerated Computing at NVIDIA, in a blog post today.

He added, “Tesla P100 and our GPU computing platform is already enabling customers to make breakthroughs in such diverse areas as fraud detection and prevention, genomic research into curing disease, eliminating millions of tons of waste through better inventory management, and automation of manufacturing tasks too dangerous for humans.”

GPUs are increasingly being used by all major cloud providers as a way to boost throughput and improve the performance of their cloud services.

“The latest NVIDIA GPU technology delivered on the IBM Cloud is opening the door for enterprises of all sizes to use cognitive and AI to address complex big data challenges,” said John Considine, IBM’s general manager of Cloud Infrastructure, in a statement. “IBM’s global network of cloud data centers, along with its advanced cognitive and GPU capabilities, is helping to accelerate the pace of client innovation.”

IBM is, of course, not the only major cloud company NVIDIA is working with. Last month, the company issued a joint announcement with Microsoft to unveil plans for a HGX-1 hyperscale GPU accelerator open-source design to be released in conjunction with Microsoft’s Project Olympus. In November, during the annual SC16 supercomputing conference in Salt Lake City, NVIDIA also announced work with Microsoft to help make it easier for enterprise customers to develop artificial intelligence applications to run on NVIDIA Tesla GPUs in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

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