Dell has joined hands with artificial intelligence (AI) startup Imbue to provide it with computing hardware. This hardware will be used to power Imbue’s very own generative AI models, reports Bloomberg.

This deal represents a notable stride in Dell’s efforts to broaden its influence in the AI industry, a sector in which its rivals have been actively participating. 

On Imbue’s end, these powerful servers will allow it to process extensive data necessary for the development of AI systems and the construction of models with sophisticated reasoning abilities.

Imbue recently raised $200 million in a funding round with several firms including Nvidia, the technology behemoth that has been powering the biggest AI systems such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Notably, Imbue stands among a select group of AI startups dedicated to creating their own foundational AI models from the ground up — a venture demanding considerable computational resources.

Since the launch of ChatGPT a year ago, which ignited widespread excitement in the AI sector, major corporations like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have actively engaged with AI startups, forming partnerships through investments and cloud computing agreements.

Dell, while a lesser player in this arena compared to these giants, has been communicating to its investors about the potential growth opportunities for its server business in the AI field.

The senior vice president of AI strategy at Dell said: “We’re interested in supporting all of the vibrant innovation that’s going on in this space. The entirety of our business is pivoting to support what we believe is a once or twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The innovation that generative AI is driving is rivaling the arrival of the internet.”

In contrast to many high-profile cloud agreements where AI startups typically receive cloud services from larger tech firms, Imbue has opted for a different approach, choosing to purchase computing hardware directly upfront. Tech giants including Google and Amazon typically provide cloud computing to AI startups instead.

Imbue has said that purchasing computing hardware directly from Dell has proven to be a more economical strategy compared to buying computing services from a major cloud provider. Additionally, this arrangement provides the startup with greater flexibility and reduces its dependency on any single large tech company.

Imbue and Dell have worked together to develop a custom computing system composed of smaller “clusters,” which are essentially assemblies of servers working together as a single powerful machine.

This setup is designed to accelerate the development of AI systems through rapid experimentation. Furthermore, Dell is supplying a more substantial cluster that is ideal for creating foundational models, and AI systems that can be tailored for a broad range of applications.