New Huawei processors put it firmly on the path the AI everywhere

Huawei Takes Aim at AI Sector With Two New Chips

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Firing a salvo at companies like Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia, Rotating Chairman Eric Xu unveiled two of its latest Ascend series chips that are based on an architecture called Da Vinci, and targeted at machine-learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled processors that will help Huawei extend AI everywhere.

"Our full-stack portfolio includes chips, chip enablement, a training and inference framework and application enablement", he said.

Huawei forecasts 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.

"Huawei's 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", Xu said during his Huawei Connect keynote.

However, the company is facing more scrutiny, damaging its overseas business that generates about 70 percent of its total revenue.

The two new chips come after Huawei's Kirin 970, released in 2017, and Kirin 980, which is set to be released this year and will be integrated within its Huawei Mate 20, also set to be released later this year. New services and new products, which happen to be built on-top of a new series of AI chips, known as Ascend.

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Besides the Ascend 910, there is also the Ascend 310, a chip for smart devices which is available at the time of writing.

Xu said its full-stack AI portfolio would deliver abundant and affordable computing power, provide an efficient and easy-to-use AI platform with full-pipeline services, and make the portfolio adaptive to all scenarios including cloud, edge and device. The Ascend 310 chip will be available immediately while the Ascend 910 chip will be launched in the second quarter of 2019.

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", said Xu.

Huawei's AI strategy has multiple key focus areas, including investment in AI research, development of open ecosystem/talent, and driving operational efficiency.

But given there's cybersecurity paranoia in the West over the adoption of Chinese technology, especially given the allegations of China sneaking spy chips into the motherboards of a large U.S. tech supplier, Huawei could be looking at quite an uphill struggle. Its portfolio will also include an AI acceleration card, AI server, AI appliances and many other products.

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