IBM and AMD partner on AI and confidential computing

The partnership will expand on open source software and frameworks to create better security for hybrid cloud

IBM and AMD have announced a multi-year joint development agreement which aims to strengthen and expand the security and artificial intelligence (AI) offerings of the two tech giants.

The partnership will work on extending open source software, open standards, and open system architectures in order to drive confidential computing within hybrid cloud environments.

The project also aims to support a broad range of accelerators across high-performance computing (HPC), and enterprise-critical capabilities, including virtualisation and encryption.

According to IBM's Institute for Business, securing highly sensitive data remains a challenge for many businesses, with cyber security being the top barrier for adoption, as well as the main consideration when selecting a cloud provider.

In order to solve this issue, global research and advisory firm Gartner has recommended confidential computing, the technique of encrypting data while it is being manipulated and analysed, as a way of potentially surpassing the remaining barrier to hybrid cloud adoption for highly-regulated enterprises, as well as any business concerned about unauthorised third-party access to data held in a public cloud.

IBM Research director Dario Gil said that AMD’s commitment to technological innovation aligns with IBM’s mission to “develop and accelerate the adoption of the hybrid cloud to help connect, secure and power our digital world”.

“IBM is focused on giving our clients choice, agility and security in our hybrid cloud offerings through advanced research, development and scaling of new technologies,” he added.

AMD’s executive vice president and CTO, Mark Papermaster, said that the new partnership “aligns well” with AMD’s “long-standing commitment to collaborating with leaders in the industry”, adding that the company “is excited to extend our work with IBM on AI, accelerating data centre workloads, and improving security across the cloud”.

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Earlier this year, AMD was recruited by HPE to build components for a groundbreaking high-performance supercomputer system designed to support and maintain the security of the US nuclear stockpile. The project was commissioned by the US Department of Energy to service the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

El Capitan, which is expected to be activated in 2023, will use AMD’s CPUs and GPUs to reach two exaflops of power, which HPE claims is more powerful than today’s 200 most powerful supercomputers combined.

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