June 23, 2024
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Reliance Industries’s Jio Platforms has partnered with GPU giant Nvidia to work on building a large language model that is trained on India’s diverse languages, the two firms said Friday, as the largest Indian corporate firm expands into the fast-growing but locally uncontested space.

The companies will also work together to build an AI infrastructure that is “over an order of magnitude more powerful than the fastest supercomputer in India today,” they said. Reliance said that the cloud infrastructure would provide accelerated computing access to researchers, developers, startups, scientists, AI experts, and others throughout India.

As part of the deal, Nvidia will equip Jio with comprehensive AI supercomputer solutions, encompassing CPU, GPU, networking, as well as AI operating systems and frameworks for crafting advance AI models. Jio, in turn, will be responsible for the management of the AI cloud infrastructure and will also handle customer interactions and access.

“We are delighted to partner with Reliance to build state-of-the-art AI supercomputers in India,” said Jensen Huang, founder and chief executive of Nvidia, in a statement. “India has scale, data and talent. With the most advanced AI computing infrastructure, Reliance can build its own large language models that power generative AI applications made in India, for the people of India.”

India, the world’s most populated nation, is currently not a prominent name in the AI space. The extent of Indian startups’ — and those of local larger firms — AI play has largely been to build applications on top of large language models built by OpenAI and others.

Reliance, whose biggest revenue driver is its oil business, has expanded to numerous categories in the past decade, including telecom and streaming, as it has sought to diversify its empire. Jio Platforms — backed by Meta, Google, Qualcomm and Intel — is increasingly also positioning itself as the technology distribution partner for many global giants. It maintains a 10-year deal with Microsoft to launch new cloud data centers in India and resell many business offerings, and just last month deepened its collaboration with Netflix.

“As India advances from a country of data proliferation to creating technology infrastructure for widespread and accelerated growth, computing and technology super centres like the one we envisage with Nvidia will provide the catalytic growth just like Jio did to our nation’s digital march,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, in a statement. “I am delighted with the partnership with Nvidia and looking forward to a purposeful journey together.”

Industry insiders attribute India’s dearth of AI-first startups in part to a skills gap among the nation’s workforce. With the advent of generative AI could displace many service jobs, analysts warn.

“Among its over 5 million employees, IT in India still has a high mix of low-end employees like BPO or system maintenance. While AI isn’t at the level of causing disruptions, the systems are improving rapidly,” Bernstein analysts wrote in a report this year.

In response to this landscape, New Delhi has said that India will not regulate the growth of AI, taking a different approach from many other countries.

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