Saudi Arabia and UAE invest in thousands of Nvidia chips, aiming to become global AI powerhouses


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What just happened? Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are just two of the countries to have joined the AI arms race, buying up thousands of Nvidia chips, including the H100, with the aim of becoming global leaders in the field. But, as with China, there are concerns about the Middle-Eastern nations potentially misusing the technology.

The Financial Times reports that Saudi Arabia has bought at least 3,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs, which Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang calls the first chip designed for generative AI. With its 14,592 CUDA cores, 80GB of HBM3 capacity, and 5,120-bit memory bus, it's priced at a massive $40,000.

The UAE has also purchased thousands of Nvidia chips and already developed its own open-source large language model, called Falcon, at the state-owned Technology Innovation Institute in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

Sources say Nvidia will ship about 550,000 H100 GPUs globally this year, most of which are heading to US tech companies. Saudi Arabia's public research institution King Abdullah University of Science and Technology will receive 3,000 of them, worth about $120 million, by the end of 2023. For comparison, OpenAI trained ChatGPT on 1,024 A100 chips.

The Saudi university is using the chips to build its own supercomputer, Shaheen III. It will pack 700 Grace Hopper super chips, which combine a Grace CPU and an H100 Tensor Core GPU. The chips are also being used to create an LLM, developed by Chinese researchers who can't study or work in the US after graduating from Chinese universities on America's entity list.

The UAE's Falcon LLM, meanwhile, was trained on 384 A100 chips over two months. The country has bought a new batch of Nvidia chips for more AI/LLM-related applications.

Both Gulf countries don't have the best reputations when it comes to human rights and freedom of the press, but unlike China, there are no US restrictions on AI chip exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Utilizing AI for purposes such as surveillance is a concerning prospect for many, and their systems may lack the ethical guardrails found in Western versions.

While some believe generative AI systems are nothing more than "glorified tape recorders," countries around the world are pouring millions into the industry in the hope of becoming world leaders. Even China and Russia said they are aiming for this accolade, though that will be difficult with all the sanctions and limitations - Nvidia makes less powerful versions of its top AI chips for the Chinese market

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I expect it will be used to find ways to chop up journalists and stick them in bin bags without being noticed.
I always have to chuckle when US based media reports on 'Human rights abuses' from places like Saudi Arabia which I won't list here for either country (Spoilers: basically all States are criminals, by their own definitions) But I guess the US police using face recognition on it's own citizens is probably not news worthy of unethical uses of 'AI' right?
If 3.000 of them is worth 120m and they'll be shipping 550.000 this year, it's 22b made on h100 alone. Surreal numbers :scream:
News report AI GPU shortages due to supply.
I think we'll see gaming cards supplies run low soon. No one, not nvidia nor amd, will prioritize gaming gpus.
I haven't been following much regarding the AI buzz lately. I only recently caught up on AI generative, ChatGPT, AI fusion, or apps such as Topaz that uses AI to upscale/enchance pictures and such.

Other than those can someone please enlighten me a little what exactly is the big benefit and the high demand on AI?

Why are there so many big companies are now jumping onto the AI board?

If 3.000 of them is worth 120m and they'll be shipping 550.000 this year, it's 22b made on h100 alone. Surreal numbers :scream:

Because that's where the money is. AI is a hot cake right now, just as mining with your GPU was some years ago.

Nvidia excells at those compute oriented GPU's - but AMD is on it's way too.
Oh goodie, one step closer to the vision laid out by Todd Macfarlane in his contribution to the Animatrix.

In seriousness though, just keep that Arab spring going another decade or so and Saudi would be the perfect locale for any type of high performance compute. Build the datacenters underground capitalizing on the near freezing surface temperatures of the deserts ultra low humidity at night while simultaneously having access to a practically limitless supply of solar during the day to drive the clusters. Build them on the outskirts of cities and towns and use a liquid exchange cooling solution to siphon off the waste heat for a massively subsidized source of hot water for local residents.

Realistically it is the same type of resource proliferation the Saudis are well familiar with save they're supplanting hydrocarbon resources for compute sold per unit volume of time. Hell you haven't even got to put it on a bulker and ship it half way around the planet with absurd amounts of insurance. No transmission losses like those associated with the production of renewable energy being transmitted to the EU as has been supposed a number of times over the years either.

In a world after the Abraham accords things could get a lot more reasonable than can be presently appreciated.