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12 November
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Asia

Huawei unveiled "world’s most powerful AI processor"

The company sees AI as a technology that can be used in all sectors of the economy

Photo: AFP

/NOVOSTIVL/ Huawei Technologies has unveiled a new high-end artificial intelligence (AI) chip for servers, bidding to grow its share of the booming cloud services market even as the world’s largest network equipment vendor battles a US trade ban. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.

Ascend 910, an AI processor first mentioned by Huawei in Shanghai last year, is the "world’s most powerful AI processor" targeted at AI model training, the company said in a press release on Friday. Huawei added that it sees AI as a "general purpose technology" that can be used in almost every sector of the economy.

"The Ascend 910 has performed much better than initial expectations, - said Eric Xu Zhijun, Huawei’s rotating chairman at the media launch in Shenzhen - "Without doubt, it has more computing power than any other AI processor in the world".

Although AI is still in the early stages of development, Huawei said it is committed to providing stronger computing power to increase the speed of complex AI models, making the technology more affordable and effective.

The "holy grail" of AI hardware is flexible, high-performance chips for training machine learning. Until now, only Nividia, and to a lesser extent Google, have been able to develop hardware for machine-learning training that AI researchers have widely adopted.

"For Huawei’s latest chip to be a game-changer, it would need to mount a serious challenge to Nvidia’s GPU or Google’s TPU", - said Lorand Laskai, a visiting researcher at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University.

"Even though Huawei designs many of its chip in-house, it still relies on a number of key Western technologies, making it vulnerable to US blacklisting. AI chips are no different," - said Laskai

On Monday Huawei was granted another temporary 90 days reprieve by the US from its trade blacklisting, lasting until November 19. The company was banned from buying American technology by the US Commerce Department in mid-May on national security grounds. The chip launch is seen as a counter-attack by Huawei.

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