Huawei launches two microchips to support new AI strategy

Alfred Osborne
October 12, 2018

Ltd., a renowned tech company based out of Shenzhen, China, has reportedly announced the launch of two new artificial intelligence (AI) chips designed for smart devices and data centers. Moreover, around 90% of the device users would have a smart digital assistant.

"Since we do not sell to third parties, there is no direct competition between Huawei and chip vendors", Xu explained.

The Chinese tech giant's chip arm, Hisilicon, will look to pop home-grown slices of silicon into the servers Huawei now flogs to telecoms and cloud companies, thereby replacing the need to source Intel chips which it usually uses, according to Reuters.

Until now, Huawei only designed and manufactured chips for its own smartphones, including the AI-capable "Kirin" processors.

The chips and AI strategy were unveiled at the Huawei Connect 2018 conference, which opened at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre on Wednesday.

Faster model training. Training complex AI models now takes days or months, he said, adding that it ought to take place in minutes or even seconds.

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The new Ascend series aims to minimize energy consumption, maximize computing power in data centers.

AI will also need to synergise better with other technologies, such as cloud, the internet of things (IoT), edge computing, blockchain and big data.

The first chipset is the Ascend 910, which Xu claimed had the greatest computing power density ever achieved on a single chip. Xu further added that there are clear signs that AI would be changing or disrupting a plethora of industries.

The global technology giant's rotating chairman, Eric Xu, told an audience that the company will mainly focus on five core areas - investing in AI research, building a full-stack AI portfolio, developing an open ecosystem and talent, strengthening the existing portfolio and driving operational efficiency.

Huawei's AI push saw it sign a strategic agreement with Chinese search engine giant Baidu in December past year to build an open mobile AI ecosystem that covers platforms, technology, internet services, and content ecosystems. "But if one day we can realize the autonomous network, such jobs of O&M [operations and maintenance] engineers will become redundant". Created to build an AI infrastructure covering the end, edge and cloud, the new Atlas includes the terminal-facing Atlas 200 AI accelerator module, the DC-facing Atlas 300 AI accelerator card, the edge-oriented Atlas 500 AI edge station, and the Atlas 800 AI appliance for enterprises.

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