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Huawei unveils the world’s most powerful AI chip – Ascend 910

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The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has unveiled their brand-new Artificial Intelligence (AI) chipset Ascend 910 at its Shenzhen headquarters, together with the accompanying AI computing framework, MindSpore. The company claims this chip to be the world’s fastest AI processor ever with the greatest computing power available on a single chip, and optimized for AI applications.


“We have been making steady progress since we announced our AI strategy in October last year,” said Eric Xu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman. “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 originally announced the processor’s planned specifications last year at its Huawei Connect flagship event in Shanghai. After a year of intense development, test results reveal that the Ascend 910 processor is able to perform with much lower power consumption than initially planned. For half-precision floating point (FP16) operations, Ascend 910 delivers 256 TeraFLOPS and for integer precision calculations (INT8), it delivers 512 TeraOPS.


According to the company’s statement, despite its unrivaled performance, the Ascend 910’s max power consumption is only 310W, and this is much lower than its planned specs of 350W. “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.”


Moreover, the Ascend 910 processor is used for AI model training. It is stated that in a typical training session based on ResNet-50, the combination of the Ascend 910 and MindSpore provides the ability to train AI models two times faster than other mainstream training cards using TensorFlow. In the future, Huawei plans to continue investing in AI processors “to deliver more abundant, affordable, and adaptable computing power that meets the needs of a broad range of scenarios (e.g., edge computing, on-vehicle computing for autonomous driving, and training).”


If China’s leading equipment manufacturer’s claims of their world’s fastest AI processor are true, then this will put Huawei on par with other industry giants such as AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Microsoft.