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Business News/ Technology / News/  Huawei claims Ascend 910 is the most powerful AI chip in the world
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Huawei claims Ascend 910 is the most powerful AI chip in the world

The chip consumes 310W of power, which is less than what was originally expected figure of 350W
  • Huawei is essentially promising faster AI computing but at lower and efficient power consumption rates with the new chip
  • Huawei is in contention against giants in the chip industry in the data center space, like Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia and even Microsoft.Premium
    Huawei is in contention against giants in the chip industry in the data center space, like Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia and even Microsoft.

    After a year of development, the Huawei Ascend 910 AI (Artificial Intelligence) computing chip for data centers is finally being made available commercially. The company announced the chip today along with an AI computing framework called MindSpore. The chip, according to Huawei, is the world’s fastest AI processor.

    "Ascend 910 performs much better than we expected. Without a doubt, it has more computing power than any other AI processor in the world," said Eric Xu, Huawei's Rotating Chairman.

    That puts Huawei in contention against giants in the chip industry in the data center space, like Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia and even Microsoft. Qualcomm, for instance, announced its entry into the data center AI chip space in April this year. While the company is yet to announce its actual chip, at the time, it said the Cloud A1 100 (the name of Qualcomm’s chip) will be 50 times more powerful in processing AI workloads as compared to its flagship mobile chipset.

    On the other hand, Nvidia already has a lead on these companies, by repurposing its graphics processing units (GPUs) for use in data centers. Its competitor in the GPU space, AMD, has done the same by announcing 7nm chips recently. In an interview with Mint earlier, Mark Papermaster, CTO, AMD said, “Data centres today are limited by power. In the data centre and the cloud, you will see a doubling of performance (of server racks) with the same amount of power that you were spending before."

    Huawei shared some impressive numbers for how powerful its new chip is, but more importantly, the chip apparently takes 310W of power which is less than what was originally expected. The company’s original specs for the chip projected 350W power consumption from the Ascend 910 chip. This is important because higher power consumption also increase the cooling costs for a data centre, which are already through the roof when it comes to AI computing.

    So, Huawei is essentially promising faster AI computing but at lower and efficient power consumption rates. On paper, this does sound like a win-win for the company. But we will have to wait for companies like Microsoft, Qualcomm and more to unveil their solutions for the same to see where the Ascend 910 really stands in the long run.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Prasid Banerjee
    An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
    Catch all the Technology News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
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    Published: 23 Aug 2019, 06:38 PM IST
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