UALink standard announced: AMD, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Meta to combat NVIDIA NVLink

NVIDIA has had dominance with NVLink for years, but now there's new competition with UALink: Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Google, Broadcom team up.

2 minutes & 21 seconds read time

We're counting down the hours into Computex 2024, where NVIDIA will be showing off a bunch of the coolest things we can imagine... and now, their NVLink dominance is being fought against.

UALink standard announced: AMD, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Meta to combat NVIDIA NVLink 908

The interconnect market is a hot one for servers right now, especially in the age of AI. We've now got technology giants including Intel, AMD, Broadcom, Cisco, Google, HPE, Meta, and Microsoft have formed an Ultra Accelerator Promotor Group that focuses on developing an AI-focused interconnect system specifically aimed at data centers.

The group has announced its lofty intentions with UALink (Ultra Accelerator Link) which aims to connect accelerators through an open -- non NVIDIA exclusive -- protocol.

UALink standard announced: AMD, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Meta to combat NVIDIA NVLink 909

Forrest Norrod, executive vice president and general manager, Data Center Solutions Group, AMD, said: "The work being done by the companies in UALink to create an open, high performance and scalable accelerator fabric is critical for the future of AI. Together, we bring extensive experience in creating large scale AI and high-performance computing solutions that are based on open-standards, efficiency and robust ecosystem support. AMD is committed to contributing our expertise, technologies and capabilities to the group as well as other open industry efforts to advance all aspects of AI technology and solidify an open AI ecosystem".

Jas Tremblay, vice president and general manager of the Data Center Solutions Group, Broadcom, said: "Broadcom is proud to be one of the founding members of the UALink Consortium, building upon our long-term commitment to increase large-scale AI technology implementation into data centers. It is critical to support an open ecosystem collaboration to enable scale-up networks with a variety of high-speed and low-latency solutions".

Martin Lund, Executive Vice President, Common Hardware Group, Cisco, said: "Ultra-high performance interconnects are becoming increasingly important as AI workloads continue to grow in size and scope. Together, we are committed to developing the UALink which will be a scalable and open solution available to help overcome some of the challenges with building AI supercomputers".

Trish Damkroger, senior vice president and general manager, HPC & AI Infrastructure Solutions, HPE, said: "Open standards are important to HPE as we innovate in supercomputing and increase access to systems. As a founding member of the UALink industry consortium, we look forward to contributing our expertise in high performance networking and systems, and collaborating to develop a new open standard for accelerator interconnects for the next generation of supercomputing".

Sachin Katti, SVP & GM, Network and Edge Group, Intel Corporation, said: "UALink is an important milestone for the advancement of Artificial Intelligence computing. Intel is proud to co-lead this new technology and bring our expertise in creating an open, dynamic AI ecosystem. As a founding member of this new consortium, we look forward to a new wave of industry innovation and customer value delivered though the UALink standard. This initiative extends Intel's commitment to AI connectivity innovation that includes leadership roles in the Ultra Ethernet Consortium and other standards bodies".

J Metz, Ph.D., Chair, Ultra Ethernet Consortium, said: "In a very short period of time, the technology industry has embraced challenges that AI and HPC have uncovered. Interconnecting accelerators like GPUs requires a holistic perspective when seeking to improve efficiencies and performance. At UEC, we believe that UALink's scale-up approach to solving pod cluster issues complements our own scale-out protocol, and we are looking forward to collaborating together on creating an open, ecosystem-friendly, industry-wide solution that addresses both kinds of needs in the future".

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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