Huawei to sell servers with own chips in cloud computing push

  • Huawei to sell servers with own chips in cloud computing push

Huawei to sell servers with own chips in cloud computing push

On Wednesday, the Chinese tech giant unveiled two new artificial intelligence (AI) chips serving data centers and smart devices at a conference in Shanghai. "Full stack means that Huawei is able to provide AI application developers with unparalleled computing power and a strong development platform".

The new chip family extends all the way from smart earphones (Ascend-Nano) to data centre (Ascend-Max), via always-on devices (Ascend-Tiny), smartphones (Ascend-Lite); and laptops and edge servers (Ascend-Mini).

While Huawei is betting big on making its own AI chips, with another three in the series to be launched next year, chairman Eric Xu said in a briefing yesterday that the firm does not plan to sell its chips as standalone components to its customers.

Huawei's new chips form part of its plan to "greatly accelerate AI adoption in all industries" and strengthen the cloud computing business it set up past year. Huawei said the chip cannot only process data faster than competitors but would train machine learning models in minutes.

Ascend 910 - aimed at data centres - is expected to have the world's greatest computing density in a single chip, whilst Ascend 310 is expected to be the most efficient AI system-on-chip (SoC) for low-power computing.

It points out that data utilisation will reach 86% and AI services will be readily available, as prevalent as the air we breathe.

The push into AI and the cloud marks Huawei's attempt to build a Chinese technology empire that can compete against the world's top players - an effort that's raised hackles in the U.S. Its expanded ambitions come as Washington, trying to contain China's rapid ascent, wages a war of tariffs against its closest economic rival.

Called the Ascend 910 and Ascend 310, the Ascend 910 is created to be deployed in cloud environments and data centers, the Ascend 310 platform are designed for low-power computing like smartphones, smartwatches and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Ascend 910 will be available from the second quarter of 2019 and the 310 is already on shelves. "There are clear signs that AI will change or disrupt a whole host of industries".

"Strategically, we will continue to invest in basic research and talent development, build a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio, and foster an open global ecosystem", he said at the opening of the three-day event. "In the consumer market, HiAI will bring true intelligence to our consumer devices, making them smarter than ever", Xu noted. Its portfolio will also include an AI acceleration card, AI server, AI appliances and many other products.

Xu added the company would apply AI to massive volumes of routine business activities for better efficiency and quality in order to improve the functionality of its technology.