Huawei has launched its artificial intelligence (AI) processor – the Ascend 910 – as well as an all-scenario AI computing framework, dubbed MindSpore.
“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 we delivered, with the release of Ascend 910 and MindSpore. This also marks a new stage in Huawei’s AI strategy.”
The Ascend 910 is a new AI processor that is part of Huawei’s series of Ascend-Max chipsets.
“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.”
Ascend 910 is used for AI model training. In a typical training session based on ResNet-50, the combination of Ascend 910 and MindSpore is about two times faster at training AI models than other mainstream training cards using TensorFlow, according to Huawei.
Xu said that Huawei will continue investing in AI processors to deliver more affordable and adaptable computing power that meets the needs of a broad range of scenarios such as edge computing, on-vehicle computing for autonomous driving, and training.
Huawei also launched MindSpore, an AI computing framework that supports development for AI applications in all scenarios.
The new AI processor will be available in China in September and in overseas markets in the first quarter of 2020, while MindSpore will go open-source in January next year.
Huawei’s AI portfolio covers all deployment scenarios, including public cloud, private cloud, edge computing, IoT industry devices, and consumer devices.
In related news, Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, recently said in an interview with Sky News that the vendor aims to ship over 2 million 5G base stations over the next two years despite the export ban implemented by the U.S. government.
Ren also said that Huawei’s addition to the U.S. Entity-List in May this year was unfair.
“First of all, please note that adding us to the Entity List was not fair. Huawei has not done anything wrong but was still placed on this list. This list didn’t have that much impact on us. Most of our more advanced equipment does not contain U.S. components, despite the fact that we used their components in the past. These newest versions of our equipment even function 30% more efficiently than before,” he said.
“In August and September, we will undergo a run-in period before we can mass produce these new versions. So, we can only produce around 5,000 base stations each month during that period. Following that, we will be able to produce 600,000 5G base stations this year and at least 1.5 million next year. That means we don’t need to rely on U.S. companies for our survival in this area,” he explained.
During Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2019. Huawei announced that it has already inked 50 5G commercial contracts and shipped more than 150,000 base stations globally. The firm also said it aims to ship to over 500,000 5G bases stations by end-2019.