Huawei unveils AI Ascend chips

Ruben Fields
October 12, 2018

China's Huawei [HWT.UL], the world's largest telecom-equipment maker, on Wednesday said it will sell some servers powered by its own chips for the first time, doubling down on efforts to boost its cloud computing business.

"Our full-stack portfolio includes chips, chip enablement, a training and inference framework and application enablement", he said. HiAI will provide a full-stack portfolio for smart devices.

By 2025, the company predicts that he world will see upwards of 40 billion personal smart devices, and 90 percent of device users will have a smart digital assistant - even if they don't use it regularly. While Huawei already has a presence in the AI chip market with its Kirin series (designed for smartphones), these devices seem geared more towards the enterprise business unit, the ugly duckling of the Huawei family.

Taking on the likes of Nvidia and Intel, especially the latter given its the largest supplier of server chips, would be a bold move by Huawei.

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Also, the common man is over-stressed with family responsibilities and work pressure, and has less time to socialise and de-stress.

Speaking at Huawei Connect 2018 in Shanghai, Xu said that the Ascend series of processors delivered excellent performance per watt, whether it's minimum energy consumption or maximum computing power in data centers.

At the third annual "Huawei Connect", a global event for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, the Chinese technology major announced its AI strategy. Huawei's cloud services accounted for 9% of the company's revenue in 2017, growing by 35% year-on-year. Available in the second quarter of 2019, the Ascend 910 offers the greatest computing density available in a single AI chip, said Xu.

The company added that its Ascend 910 chip for data centers is twice as powerful as Nvidia's v100, its nearest competitor, reported Reuters. "There are clear signs that AI will change or disrupt a whole host of industries".

Xu said the company would continue to improve internal management and efficiency through AI. "But if one day we can realize the autonomous network, such jobs of O&M [operations and maintenance] engineers will become redundant". "In the consumer market, HiAI will bring true intelligence to our consumer devices, making them smarter than ever", Xu noted. 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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