OpenAI CEO visits South Korea to discuss AI chip cooperation.
As 2024 begins, big tech companies remain relentlessly focused on building the world's most advanced artificial intelligence and data science systems. After OpenAI announced its plans to build chips on its own, the company's CEO Sam Altman made a secret visit to South Korea last week to hold discussions with Korean chipmakers such as SK Group and Samsung Electronics about collaborating on AI chips.
OpenAI is known for its close working relationship with Microsoft. Not only did Altman announce earlier this month that he was interested in designing chips, but Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta is planning to build its own general artificial intelligence (AGI).
In order to build an infrastructure that can support the AGI vision, Meta plans to acquire about 350,000 H100 GPUs from NVIDIA by the end of this year. counting in other GPUs, the company will have a total of nearly the same amount of computing power that 600,000 H100s can provide, putting it ahead of competitors like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.
Earlier this year, Altman's plan to launch a new company that would develop special AI chips roiled the industry.The phenomenal rise of AI in 2023 put the semiconductor industry in the spotlight.
It has pushed GPU maker Nvidia's shares to record highs and helped the industry weather a downturn that saw a mismatch between supply and demand.
According to the details, Altman met with Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kyung Gye Hyeon and a team of other officials and toured Samsung Electronics' chip manufacturing plant. The Korea Times report adds that Samsung Electronics' decision to allow outsiders to tour the plant is also unusual, which could mean that the company is eager to work with OpenAI to boost demand for its products. While interest in AI allowed the non-memory semiconductor industry to weather the downturn last year, the memory industry experienced a bloodbath.
According to market research firm Gartner, the importance of the memory industry downturn cannot be underestimated as it led Samsung Electronics to become the world's largest semiconductor company in 2022 before ceding that title to Intel in 2023.
Altman visited South Korea last Thursday and his trip was extended to 19 hours from the previously planned 6 hours.
Sources say he is interested in high-bandwidth storage chips. These chips are capable of handling large amounts of data compared to those in laptops, making them suitable for heavy-duty applications such as data science.