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Customers around the world rely on Microsoft Azure to drive innovations.

Whether it’s understanding our environment, public health, energy sustainability, weather modeling, economic growth, and many others finding solutions to these important challenges requires huge amounts of focused computing power. Customers are increasingly finding the best way to access such high-performance computing (HPC) is through the agility, scale, security, and leading-edge performance of Azure’s purpose-built HPC and AI cloud services.

Azure’s market-leading vision for HPC and AI is based on a core of genuine and recognized HPC expertise, using proven HPC technology and design principles, enhanced with the best features of the cloud. The result is a complete platform that delivers performance, scalability, and value, unlike any other cloud. This means applications scaling 12 times higher than other public clouds. It means higher application performance per VM. It means powering AI workloads for one customer with a supercomputer fit to be among the top five in the world. And it means delivering massive computing power into the hands of medical researchers over a weekend to prove out life-saving innovations in the fight against COVID-19.

Join us at ISC 2021 to learn more about Azure HPC and AI Supercomputing and Quantum

Microsoft will deliver a keynote at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) 2021 on quantum computing, and participate in multiple places across the ISC 2021 technical program, including panel sessions, talks, and presentations by our customers.

Additionally, we invite you to join us at an informal off-hour event at ISC on Monday, June 28, 2021, from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM CEST for our inaugural “open community social.” We will have a range of HPC and Quantum experts from research, engineering, and customer-facing roles. We will also officially launch our Azure HPC community program. Learn additional details about the Azure HPC after-hour social event at ISC 2021 and join our Discord group prior to the off-hour event.

Check out our blog post featuring additional details about our ISC events and activities.

Announcements for Azure HPC and AI Supercomputing in 2021

Azure FX-series Virtual Machine general availability announcement

We are announcing the general availability of Azure FX-series Virtual Machine, specifically designed to optimize electronic design automation (EDA) workload processing with a purpose-built virtual machine architected for EDA workloads. For more details see the FX-series announcement Azure blog, “Optimize extreme computing performance with Azure FX-series Virtual Machines” as well as the Ansys RedHawk announcement, “How Azure FX VM Makes Ansys RedHawk-SC™ Run Faster the Less You Spend.”

NVIDIA ND A100 v4 launch

Azure announced the general availability of scale-out NVIDIA A100 GPU Clusters with HDR 200 Gb/s InfiniBand networking: the fastest public cloud supercomputer. The ND A100 v4 VM is powered by NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and is designed to let our most demanding customers scale up and scale out without ever slowing down.

Xilinx NP launch

Azure launched general availability of the Azure NP-Series Virtual Machine. The NP-series virtual machines are powered by Xilinx U250 FPGAs for accelerating workloads including machine learning inference, video transcoding, and database search and analytics. NP-series VMs are also powered by Intel Xeon 8171M (Skylake) CPUs with an all-core turbo clock speed of 3.2 GHz.

AMD HBv3 launch

Azure announced the general availability of the Azure HBv3 virtual machine for HPC workloads advancing the velocity at which we bring the latest technologies to our HPC customers and the compute performance we put at their fingertips.

Azure HPC and AI Collaboration Centers launch

Microsoft announced the HPC and AI Collaboration Centers program with five inaugural partners. These partners will share best practices for unlocking customer innovation and productivity with HPC and AI.

Big moments for Azure HPC and AI Supercomputing in 2021

UK Met Office supercomputing announcement

The UK Met Office supercomputing announcement highlighted that Microsoft had been awarded a contract to deliver a ten-year managed supercomputing service, providing advanced supercomputing capabilities for weather and climate research, ensuring the continuation of the Met Office’s leadership in this area.


Jellyfish Pictures needed to enable secure remote access to immense computing power to render visual effects and animation sequences. The studio gained burst rendering on up to 90,000 processor cores in the cloud with Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets, HBv2 virtual machines, and Avere vFXT for Azure. It takes 80 percent off those rendering costs with Azure Spot Virtual Machines and uses an Azure ExpressRoute connection to minimize latency while more securely managing storage in one place, without replication.

Van Gogh Museum

In an average year, tens of thousands of Chinese visitors head to the Netherlands to tour the Van Gogh Museum. In recognition of this interest, the museum has created a mini-program for the social media platform WeChat. Through this app-like program, Chinese users can take selfies and have them digitally reworked in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. To remain compliant with GDPR legislation, and to scale the mini-program to meet demand, the museum has deployed it in Microsoft Azure with Azure Blob Storage, Azure Functions, and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

Wildlife Protection Agency

Wildlife Protection Solutions (WPS) sits in the nexus between the most remote places in the world and burgeoning animal conservation science. It provides the monitoring technology that conservation groups need to keep watch over wild places and protect wildlife. Conservationists use remote cameras to gather image data about the status of the species they protect, but the number of images that must be analyzed before action can be taken is overwhelming. WPS overcomes this barrier in collaboration with Microsoft AI for Earth, supported by Azure technologies for a species-preserving solution.

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