Amazon Web Services gave its cloud customers a set of new infrastructure capabilities aimed at making its compute offering faster for complex applications that benefit from hardware acceleration.

The F1 instance type, which entered beta on Wednesday, lets companies deploy applications that are accelerated by field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). FPGAs allow users to program hardware to perform a particular task quicker than a general-purpose processor would be able to.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy positioned the new instances as a way to democratize access to the hardware needed to optimize speed for particular applications. Several other public cloud providers have turned to specialized hardware like FPGAs to try and accelerate the speed of their offerings.  

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