Elon Musk’s xAI to Build ‘Gigafactory of Compute’ in Memphis →

xAI, Elon Musk’s AI company (no not that one) is coming to my hometown with what would be the world’s largest supercomputer, as reported by Samuel Hardiman at The Daily Memphian:

The Elon Musk-founded artificial intelligence startup — xAI — is building an AI supercomputer in Memphis, officials announced Wednesday, June 5.

The facility, when completed, could be worth billions of dollars and be one of the most advanced computing facilities in the world.

Musk recently told investors he planned to build a supercomputer for xAI but did not say where, according to a presentation obtained by business news site The Information.

Neil Strebig at The Commercial Appeal writes:

Chamber President and CEO Ted Townsend said this project represents a multibillion dollar investment and is the largest by a new-to-market company in Memphis history. Final job counts and total investment are still being calculated by the company, he said. The project is expected to open this year.

Few specifics were provided about the project, which is called “xAI’s Gigafactory of Compute,” including its location. Townsend said due to global security concerns, the location would not be announced.

The Daily Memphian reports that the deal came together very quickly, and that the location is an old Electrolux oven factory, which has been undergoing mysterious renovations for several weeks. The area where the factory is located is home to other industries, and seems well-equipped for the task. Here’s more from Hardiman’s article:

Supercomputers like the one xAI building in southwest Memphis need considerable electricity. The facility is less than a mile from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Allen Combined Cycle Plant by car and it’s even closer as the crow flies.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water said there is enough electric capacity on its system and TVA’s for the project. Power to the supercomputer would be interrupted if the system is stressed.

“They’re working on that with Tennessee Valley Authority and our team to determine how much off-peak they can come when the demand gets high, and what the terms of that will be,” MLGW CEO Doug McGowen said.

(I guess we now know where those unused H100s are going.)

Memphis is a curious choice for this. The city is in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and we’re prone to severe weather. That said, we enjoy a low cost of living and local government officials have been working to incentivize new developments in town.

This is an exciting, if unexpected, bit of news around here. Beyond FedEx, St. Jude, and AutoZone, Memphis does not have a lot of high-paying tech jobs, and this could accelerate things… assuming it takes shape as promised. And assuming Musk doesn’t screw Memphis over.