Huawei lays out AI roadmap

Nancy Ho / Computerworld Hong Kong
12 Oct 2018

AI has disrupted many industries and enterprises in recent years. Huawei believes AI will soon become a “general-purpose technology”, which combines different technologies like cloud, IoT, and big data to help tackle existing and future problems.

The ICT solutions provider unveils its AI strategy and AI portfolio at the recent Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai.

“AI offers new business opportunities, strengthens our products and services to become more competitive and future-oriented, and improves our internal operational management and efficiency,” said Eric Xu, rotating chairman at Huawei.

10 changes shaping the future

Huawei has identified 10 changes that will help shape the future of AI. They are faster model training; abundant and affordable computing power; AI deployment in different scenarios and the protection of user privacy; data-efficient, energy-efficient, and explainable algorithms; AI automation especially during processes like data labeling, data collection, and model design; practical applications to meet the needs of real-world execution; real-time and closed-loop system; multi-tech synergy between AI and other technologies; one-stop platform; and talent availability.

Five areas of AI focus

To pave the way for these changes, Huawei has unveiled its AI strategy in five areas of focus—AI research investment, full-stack AI portfolio, open ecosystem and talent, existing portfolio enhancement, and operational efficiency in Huawei.

“Our AI strategy is to invest in basic research and talent development, build a full-stack and all-scenario AI portfolio, and foster an open global ecosystem,” said Xu.

Huawei’s full-stack AI portfolio includes chips, chip enablement, a training and inference framework, and application enablement. Its portfolio can be deployed in various scenarios including public clouds, private clouds, edge computing in all forms, industrial IoT devices, and consumer devices, according to Huawei.

On the chip level, Huawei announced the launch of two chips—Ascend 910 and Ascend 310, which are touted to accelerate AI adoption in different industries. Xu touted that Ascend 910 has the world’s greatest computing density in a single chip, which can be applied in large-scale distributed training system. Ascend 310 is an efficient AI chip for low-power computing. The chips will be deployed to offer cloud services to customers next year. Its AI portfolio also includes an AI acceleration card, AI server, and AI appliance.

To foster an open global ecosystem, Huawei aims to develop industry and business alliances with one million AI developers and partners over the next three years. “We believe this target can be achieved through our talent training program, full-stack AI portfolio, and technical collaboration,” said William Xu, chief strategy marketing officer at Huawei.

First published in Computerworld Hong Kong

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