Stellar Co-Founder’s Nonprofit Fires Up 24,000 GPUs for AI Development

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Voltage Park, an AI-focused non-profit organization backed by cryptocurrency billionaire Jed McCaleb, has announced the launch of a cloud computing cluster comprising 24,000 GPUs. The initiative aims to serve the rapidly-growing machine learning (ML) compute market, which has been grappling with challenges ranging from rigid long-term contracts to exorbitant GPU rental rates. “Not enough people understand how much the compute shortage is affecting AI innovators,” Voltage Park CEO Eric Park said in the announcement. McCaleb—known for playing a prominent role in the crypto world as the co-founder of Ripple and later the founder of Stellar (powered by the XLM token)—has now shifted his focus to the rapidly growing realm of AI. His support for Voltage Park is yet more evidence of the tech industry’s pivot from blockchain to AI. The launch is not just about numbers, according to Voltage Park—it’s about accessibility. Voltage Park aims to make ML infrastructure available to all, from tech giants to budding startups. Their entry into the ML compute scramble includes offering bare-metal access for large-scale users, short-term leases, and hourly billing. With around 24,000 NVIDIA H100 GPUs (costing around $500 million), Voltage Park emerges as a formidable player in the ML arena. Voltage Park is already offering services to other startups like Imbue, and is working on providing infrastructure for well-known names in the AI space like Character AI, which lets users create chatbots based on personalities like Elon Musk or Cuddha, and Atomic AI, which uses AI for genetic studies. The team wants to be fully operational by 2024. “Voltage Park helped us access critical compute much more quickly than other providers could have,” Kanjun Qiu, CEO of Imbue, said in the announcement. After the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year, the demand for advanced AI silicon, like Nvidia’s, skyrocketed. Businesses are now in a race not just for crypto dominance but for AI supremacy. McCaleb’s move to fund Voltage Park, a subsidiary of his nonprofit Navigation Fund, is a strategic step in this direction. While McCaleb has played a foundational role in establishing Voltage Park, the nonprofit says he remains hands-off in its daily operations, neither operating nor sitting on the board. Voltage Park’s initiative toward democratizing AI technology brings state-of-the-art computing power to a broader audience, promising to level the playing field and potentially sparking a new wave of innovation in machine learning. Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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