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Amazon Reportedly Beefing Up AI Capabilities In the Cloud

November 13, 2017, 8:13 PM UTC

Amazon is improving the artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities of its popular cloud services in order to better compete with rival services from Google and Microsoft.

Amazon Web Services plans to announce the upgrades at its upcoming annual customer conference in Las Vegas, the tech news site The Information reported on Monday. Amazon has been working with several AI-oriented startups including DataRobot and Domino Data Lab, to improve its services, the web site said.

Cloud computing is largely used to run standard business applications and store digital data for corporations and consumers. But with so much data already stored in cloud servers, now corporations are looking to conduct big data analysis and machine learning tasks like image recognition directly in the cloud as well.

Amazon’s competitors have already pushed into similar territory. Google (GOOGL) this year showed off its own custom microchip, dubbed the Tensor Processing Unit, that can be used by cloud customers that want to run machine learning programs or other AI-related tasks. Microsoft (MSFT) fired back in August, unveiling its Project Brainwave that relies on reprogrammable chips to speed AI applications.

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Fortune contacted Amazon for comment and will update this story if it replies.

Amazon’s (AMZN) new effort is code-named Ironman and is aimed at completing tasks for companies focused on insurance, energy, fraud detection, and drug discovery, The Information reported. The services will be offered to run on graphic processing chips made by Nvidia as well as so-called field programmable gate array chips, which can be reprogrammed as needed for different kinds of software.

Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, and Intel, among others, have been battling to supply cloud operators like Amazon with the highest-performing chips for AI and machine learning apps. Nvidia (NVDA) is far in the lead, but Intel (INTC) said last week that it planned to start making its own high-end graphics chips for the AI market under the leadership of former top AMD (AMD) executive Raja Koduri.

Even before the AI upgrades, Amazon Web Services is among the fastest growing parts of the e-commerce giant’s businesses. The unit has brought in $12.3 billion in revenue in the first nine months of 2017, up 42% from the same period last year.