June 20, 2024

Elon Musk with his arms up in front of a backdrop that says Breakthrough Prize

Elon Musk at the 10th annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on April 13, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence startup, xAI, now has an intended home for its unbuilt supercomputer.

The billionaire chose Memphis, Tennessee for his “gigafactory of compute, the world’s largest supercomputer,” Ted Townsend, president of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said in a press briefing on Wednesday. The factory could one day be the “largest multi-billion dollar investment in the city of Memphis’s history,” Townsend said, adding that Musk and xAI have been working with Memphis officials since March to make plans for the facility. The city has considered offering xAI tax breaks or other incentives to move to Memphis; however, estimates of the total cost of the factory and the theoretical number of jobs it’ll create will come at a later date, Townsend said.

In May, Musk pitched investors on xAI’s plans to build a supercomputer to power its artificial intelligence chatbot, Grok, The Information reported. In an internal presentation seen by the publication, Musk reportedly said he wanted the supercomputer to be up and running by next fall. He also reportedly said xAI was considering a partnership with Oracle to build the supercomputer.

In May, xAI announced it had raised $6 billion in a Series B funding round that included investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The company open-sourced its ChatGPT rival, Grok, in March after Musk sued his former company, OpenAI, over its multi-year, multi-billion dollar partnership with Microsoft. Musk’s lawsuit argues the company’s deal with the tech giant betrays its founding commitment of putting benefits to humanity over profit.

Meanwhile, Musk, who is also the chief executive of Tesla, reportedly asked Nvidia to prioritize its shipment of AI chips to X and xAI over the electric vehicle company.

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