Huawei has announced its strategy for the computing market and released Atlas 900, the “world’s fastest AI training cluster”, at Huawei Connect 2019.
A “powerhouse of AI computing”, Atlas 900 will help make AI more readily available for different fields of scientific research and business innovation, the company has said in a press statement.
“The future of computing is a massive market worth more than $2tn,” said Ken Hu, Huawei’s deputy chairman. “We’ll keep investing with a strategy that focuses on four key areas. We will push the boundaries of architecture, invest in processors for all scenarios, keep clear business boundaries and build an open ecosystem.”
The industry’s approach to computing is evolving from rule-based to statistical models, which are the foundation of machine learning. Huawei estimates that in the next five years, statistical computing will become the mainstream and AI computing will account for more than 80% of all computing power used around the world.
To carve out a place in this market, Huawei’s strategy will focus on four key areas:
Architecture innovation: Last year, Huawei launched the Da Vinci architecture, an innovative processor architecture designed to provide a steady and abundant supply of affordable computing power. Huawei will continue to invest in basic research.
Investment in all-scenario processors: Huawei has a full lineup of processors: Kunpeng processors for general purpose computing, Ascend processors for AI, Kirin processors for smart devices, and Honghu processors for smart screens.
Clear business boundaries: Huawei won’t sell its processors directly. Instead, it will provide them to its customers in the form of cloud services, and to its partners in the form of components, prioritising support for integrated solutions.
Building an open ecosystem: In the next five years, Huawei will invest another $1.5bn in its developer programme. The aim is to expand the programme to support 5mn developers and enable Huawei’s worldwide partners to develop the next generation of intelligent applications and solutions.
Building on the technical strengths that Huawei has developed over the past decade, the Atlas 900 combines the power of thousands of Ascend processors. It takes Atlas 900 only 59.8 seconds to train ResNet-50, the gold standard for measuring AI training performance. This is 10 seconds faster than the previous world record, the statement notes.
Atlas 900 is a “powerhouse of AI computing, and will bring new possibilities to different fields of scientific research and business innovation – anything from astronomy, weather forecasting and autonomous driving, to oil exploration”, according to Huawei. The company has also deployed Atlas 900 on Huawei Cloud as a cluster service, making “extraordinary computing power more broadly accessible to its customers across different industries”. Huawei has offered these services at a “great discount” to universities and scientific research institutes worldwide.
Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei’s Cloud BU, talked about how AI can be applied in different scenarios. Based on Huawei’s experience in over 500 projects across more than 10 industries, Zheng pointed out that industry AI is crossing the commercial chasm and becoming the key driver for reshaping how companies go digital.
Huawei Connect is an annual flagship event hosted by Huawei for the global ICT industry, and is being held in Shanghai until tomorrow.
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