Huawei is pushing the envelope when it comes to AI chip-sets

Huawei is pushing the envelope when it comes to AI chip-sets

Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s largest telecom equipment vendor, has unveiled two artificial intelligence microchips that it says will help extend the application of AI to “all walks of life”.

The Ascend 910 offers the “greatest computing density in a single chip”, Huawei’s rotating chairman Eric Xu Zhijun said during the Huawei Connect 2018 conference in Shanghai on Wednesday.

The companion chip on the other hand, the Ascend 310, supports “pervasive intelligence for a fully connected, intelligent world”, a key part of the company’s “all scenarios” AI strategy, according to Xu.

The 310 chip is already available in the market while the 910 will released in the second quarter of next year.

Huawei is betting big on AI development which it believes will deliver enormous economic benefits to the company and society in general, with AI-driven automation expected to gradually replace manpower in a large number of jobs and industries.

Chinese vice-premier Liu He said last month the country was developing AI in an “open environment” and encouraged companies across the world to engage in intensive collaboration at the corporate and research institute level.

Xu said Huawei’s “full stack” strategy means it can provide AI application developers with “unparalleled computing power and a strong application development platform.”

Huawei’s AI device strategy announced on Wednesday October 10th follows last year’s Huawei Cloud EI, an AI service platform for enterprises and governments, and HiAI, an AI engine for smart devices unveiled in April this year.

The business potential behind AI technology is expected to be huge, with Huawei forecasting more than 40 billion personal smart devices globally, 90% of which will use a smart digital assistant, by 2025. By that time 86% of companies across all industries will be deploying big data or related technologies to solve their problems.

However, the overall adoption of AI technology remains low as only 4% of global enterprises have utilized AI-backed technology to boost their efficiency or solve problems, according to Xu, who added that for every 100 AI jobs open there is only 1 qualified person available.

On October 9th Huang Weiwei, a senior management consultant at Huawei, said the company will continue to invest heavily in AI manpower, despite the added cost and pressure on the company’s bottom line.