Elon Musk’s Next Project – SuperComputers

ai in business

A week doesn’t seem to pass by without the name Elon Musk gracing the headlines for those who work with AI in business. The head of Tesla, SpaceX, and X (formally known as Twitter) has set his sights on building the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer, the new lifeblood to his controversial AI chatbot Grok.

The grand endeavour requires 100,000 Nvidia superconductor chips for the project to go live in 2025. The plans, detailed in an investor conference for his AI startup xAI, are a focus of Musk wanting to create what is, in his words, a ‘gigafactory of compute’, four times bigger than the largest CPU clusters currently being utilised in AI-driven enterprise

Billion-Dollar Backed

The multi-million dollar plan coincides with the multi-billion dollar funding round on xAI, achieved through the drive to develop advanced enterprise generative AI systems steeped in truth, competence, and the maximum benefit to humanity, referencing the Grok model.

Grok, an alternative to the popular ChatGPT and proclaimed an ‘anti-woke’ model, was launched in 2023 to allow X users to ask questions of AI that other systems would censor or reject, such as how to make cocaine. Pitched as an AI model with a sense of humour, Grok was met with considerable controversy, a subject not alien to its company founder.

Memphis-Bound

Musk will establish his supercomputer site in Memphis, Tennessee, marking the largest new-to-market company in Memphis history and significantly boosting the city’s economy and technological growth for AI in business.

The supercomputer is expected to be a technological marvel, powered by 100,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs and a hefty price tag of billions. However, underneath the promise of impact, details remain tight-lipped on the lack of technical specifications, performance benchmarks, and construction timelines – and where the location in Memphis will be set.

With supercomputers using AI hardware consuming large amounts of energy, Memphis is a smart move by Musk due to the involvement of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and their reliable and powerful energy source. Although some have been critical of Musk’s relocation of chips intended for Tesla being diverted to this project, many agree that the Gigafactory of Compute will help to boost Tennessee as a leader in supercomputing if the crucial approvals are met.

Huge Requirements

One question circling concern at AI conferences 2024 is the resources required to maintain such a supercomputer, specifically around the amount of water used for coolant. If xAI wants to be the leader for AI in business, it requires a large quantity of water – around one million gallons a day to keep running temperatures low – along with an electricity supply equivalent to 100,000 homes.

The call from Memphis environmentalist groups for xAI to implement alternative clean energy sources like solar to keep the site environmentally responsible, with a request for Musk to sign an environmental pledge on the potential impacts of his ambitious project.

Shiny New Toy

AI in business has been Elon Musk’s shiny new toy since his involvement with OpenAI, which rapidly became an upper-echelon player in big tech after he was no longer involved. Is Musk’s obsession with AI a welcome for Tesla investors wanting Musk to dedicate time to the problems facing the EV company in decreasing sales, faults with the Cybertruck resulting in mass recall, and employee layoffs?

Attend an AI in Business Conference

With AI for large enterprises being a focal point of AI events in 2024, the ongoing implementation of Musk’s drive to dominate the supercomputer/AI market may be the biggest talking point for guest speakers at Whitehall Media’s Enterprise Bi-Annual AI & Big Data London event, held on November 6th.