Huawei Unveils AI Chips for Smart Devices and Data Centres

Huawei, which is betting big on Artificial Intelligence (AI) today announced new chips with AI chipset which can run data centres and smart devices. With this move, Huawei is pitting itself against companies such as Nvidia and Qualcomm- both are the world’s major semiconductor companies. The two new chips- named as Ascend 910 and Ascend 310 were unveiled at the Huawei Connect global event held at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre.

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These chips will help greatly accelerate AI adoption in all industries, Huawei said, adding that the company was ready to work with all stakeholders to turn AI into a practical reality, making it inclusive and available for every person, every home and every organisation, as reported by IANS.

“Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy is to invest in basic research and talent development, build a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio, and foster an open global ecosystem,” Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu said at the event.

Huawei’s full-stack portfolio includes chips, chip ‘enablement’, a training and inference framework, and application ‘enablement’.

The “all scenarios” refers to different deployment scenarios for AI, including public Clouds, private Clouds, Edge computing in all forms, industrial IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and consumer devices.

The Ascend series delivers excellent performance per watt in every scenario, whether it is minimum energy consumption or maximum computing power in data centres, Huawei said.

Their unified architecture also makes it easy to deploy, migrate, and interconnect AI applications across different scenarios.

Apart from the Ascend series of chips, Huawei’s full-stack AI portfolio also includes CANN (Compute Architecture for Neural Networks) — a chip operators library and highly automated operators development toolkit.

MindSpore is a unified training and inference framework for the device, Edge, and Cloud (both standalone and cooperative) — is another part of the portfolio, along with application enablement that refers to the full-pipeline services, hierarchical application programming interfaces (API) and pre-integrated solutions.

“Within Huawei, we will continue exploring ways to improve management and efficiency with AI,” Xu said.

In September 2017, Huawei released Huawei Cloud EI, an AI service platform for enterprises and governments. In April this year, it announced HiAI, its AI engine for smart devices. The company’s full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio is designed to provide powerful support for Huawei Cloud EI and HiAI.

Backed by its AI portfolio, Huawei said its Cloud EI would be able to deliver a full-stack portfolio for enterprise and government customers, and HiAI will provide a full-stack portfolio for smart devices. HiAI services are deployed on Huawei Cloud EI.

Huawei smartphones are powered by its “Kirin” processors. On August 31 of this year, the Chinese giant introduced the world’s first 7nm (nanometre) chipset for mobiles– the Kirin 980.

Huawei predicts that by 2025, the world will see upwards of 40 billion personal smart devices, and 90% of device users will have a smart digital assistant.

AI, according to the company, has become a new general purpose technology and will change all industries and organisations on Earth.

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