Huawei has unveiled a high-end artificial intelligence chip for servers along with an AI computing framework called MindSpore.
The Huawei Ascend 910 is the “world’s most powerful AI processor,” according to a press release on Friday. The chip’s specs were first announced during last year’s Huawei Connect event in Shanghai.
Eric Xu, Rotating Chairman of Huawei, said:
“We have been making steady progress since we announced our AI strategy in October last year. Everything is moving forward according to plan, from R&D to product launch.
We promised a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio and today we delivered, with the release of Ascend 910 and MindSpore. This also marks a new stage in Huawei’s AI strategy.”
Huawei claims the final version of the Ascend 910 not only performs as promised, but it does so with much lower power consumption.
For half-precision floating point (FP16) operations, Ascend 910 delivers 256 TeraFLOPS performance. For integer precision calculations (INT8), it delivers 512 TeraOPS.
Huawei initially expected the Ascend 910’s max power consumption to be 350W but the company has managed to deliver the promised performance with a max consumption of just 310W.
“Ascend 910 performs much better than we expected,” said Xu. “Without a doubt, it has more computing power than any other AI processor in the world.”
Alongside the Ascend 910, Huawei has launched an AI computing framework called MindSpore.
Last year, Huawei announced three goals for MindSpore:
- Easy development: Reduce training time and costs.
- Efficient execution: Use the least amount of resources with the highest possible OPS/W.
- Adaptable to all scenarios: Including device, edge, and cloud applications.
Huawei claims that MindSpore requires 20 percent fewer lines of code than other leading frameworks when used for a typical neural network for natural language processing.
“MindSpore will go open source in the first quarter of 2020,” said Xu. “We want to drive broader AI adoption and help developers do what they do best.”
The Chinese tech behemoth continues to expand its presence despite battling a US trade ban. The US has been pressuring its allies to ban Huawei over concerns it poses a national security threat.
While security must always be prioritised, few can dispute the innovation which Huawei brings across its business. Today’s announcements show the kind of innovations which US companies may miss out on if a deal cannot be reached, putting them at a disadvantage to Chinese rivals.
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