Friday, 19 October, 2018

China’s Huawei Launches Self-Developed AI Chips To Boost Cloud Computing Business

Huawei Takes Aim at AI Sector With Two New Chips Huawei Takes Aim at AI Sector With Two New Chips
Sandy Mccarthy | 12 October, 2018, 11:10

However, for those looking to use the chips in their own data centers or solutions, they were out of luck as Huawei said it would sell packages based on the chips to third parties, rather than the chips themselves. "And we have what it takes to make that happen".

Huawei is expanding its semiconductor business with new AI chips and services. Backed by its AI portfolio, Huawei Cloud EI will be able to deliver a full-stack portfolio for enterprise and government customers.

Huawei's semiconductor arm, Hisilicon, already makes some chips the company uses in its smartphones and telecom equipment, but the servers it now sells to telecom companies and cloud computing clients mostly use Intel chips. On Wednesday, Huawei unveiled a series of products tied to its cloud computing services, as it competes with players like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and foreign ones like Amazon.com Inc. And in April this year, Huawei announced HiAI, its AI engine for smart devices. Huawei says that Ascend will make AI technology more accessible and bring it to all walks of life. "We are working towards making AI more inclusive - making it affordable, effective and reliable for all", he said.

The full-stack AI portfolio is one aspect of this strategy, though the team also promises to introduce an AI mindset and techniques into existing products and solutions to create greater value.

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The chips are now being built by Huawei's semiconductor company Hisilicon, and can already be found in some of its smartphones and telecommunications gear. "This requires so much labour", said Xu.

While the unit accounts for a small part of Huawei's overall sales, it has flagged the business as a potential growth driver. When this platform is in place, AI will become a basic skill shared by all application developers, he said. Xu said addressing this challenge would require an "AI mindset", meaning providing intelligent, automated and easy-to-use AI platforms, tools, services and education to foster a huge number of data science engineers.

The two chipsets, namely Ascend 910 and Ascend 310, were revealed at the company's industry forum Huawei Connect 2018 conference in Shanghai, marking the first time for Huawei to use its own chips in its servers. But Xu pointed out there is a growing gap between its development and sluggish enterprise adoption - only around 4% of enterprises have invested in or deployed the technology.

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