Saudi Arabia and UAE Is In Race To Buy Nvidia Chips To Power AI Ambitions

Written by Senoria Khursheed ·  2 min read >

Saudi Arabia and UAE are racing to buy Nvidia chips to develop artificial intelligence software. Guild nations are racing to acquire thousands of GPUs to build large language models. The purchase of high-performance Nvidia chips is a part of global AI competition that causes the shortage of high-performance Nvidia chips from Silicon Valley.

The Gulf powers aim to chase the goal of becoming giants in AI as the countries pursue ambitious plans to boost their economies. This race has also raised concerns about the potential misuse of the technology by the oil-rich states’ autocratic leaders.

According to the sources, Said Arabia has acquired almost 3,000 Nvidia H100 chips. The high-performance Nvidia chips cost nearly $40,000 for each processor. These processors are significantly designed for generative AI purposes.

Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s chief, states that ‘the world’s first computer chip designed for generative AI’-through the public research institution King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

In addition, UAE has purchased thousands of Nvidia chips. It has created its large language model known as ‘Falcon’ at the State-owned Technology innovation institute in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

According to the views of a person familiar with Abu Dhabi’s thinking, “the UAE has made a decision that it wants to own and control its computational power and talent, have their platforms and not be dependant on the Chinese or the Americans.”

In addition, he also said that “importantly, they have the capital to do it, and they have the energy resources to do that and are attracting the best global talent as well.”

The purchasing has been done through state-owned entities. At the same time, the world’s leading tech companies are scrambling to get their hands on Nvidia chips for their AI projects. According to the sources, leading Chinese tech companies, including Tencent and Alibaba, are searching for Nvidia high-performance chips.

KAUST in Saudi Arabia will get 3,000 Nvidia chips, which will cost nearly $120 million, by the end of the current year, 2023. The most advanced high-tech LLMs are owned explicitly by US tech companies, including Microsoft and Google. These are the primary buyers of H100 and A100 Nvidia chips.

According to the sources, it has been observed that Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing company is planning to ship about 550,000 of the latest H100 chips worldwide in 2023, mainly to US tech companies.

It is estimated that AI trained its advanced GPT-3 language model on 1,024 A100 chips, a predecessor of Nvidia’s latest chips, in just over a month.

One of the Saudi universities, which is very close to KAUST, is expected to own at least 200 A100 chips and is building a supercomputer, Shaheen III, that is expected to become operational this year. The new model will execute 700 Grace Hoppers, Nvidia’s super chips. They are designed explicitly for cutting-edge artificial intelligence applications.

KAUST is creating its language model that can generate human-like text, images, and code, which is very close to OpenAI’s GPT-4. Chinese AI experts have been selected to work with KAUST because they have been prevented from studying and working in the United States after graduating from Chinese on the US entity list.

On the other hand, western AI experts showed their concern and raised a question about the development of AI modules in the two countries. According to them, the software developed may lack the ethical guardrails and safety features that tech giant companies are trying to build into the technology.

Iverna MC Gowan, director of the Centre for Democracy and, Technologies, start that, “Human rights defenders and journalists are frequent targets of government crackdowns (in UAE and Saudi Arabia).”

In addition, she also said, “Pair this with the fact that we know how AI can have discriminatory impacts or be used to turbocharge unlawful surveillance. It’s a frightening thought.”

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief executive in June, appreciated the step taken by Abu Dhabi towards the development of AI. In an interview in the region, he said that the Gulf region could “play a central role in this global conversation around the emerging technology and its regulation.”

In addition, he also said that “there has been discussion about AI, here in particular, in Abu Dhabi, before it was cool. Now everyone is on the AI bandwagon, which we are excited about, but we have a special appreciation for the people talking about this when everyone thought AI was not going to happen.”

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