Huawei Connect 2018 opened today at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre (SWEECC). Themed “Activate Intelligence”, this third edition of Huawei’s global event for the ICT industry focuses on the challenges, innovation, opportunities and implementation of AI.
During the opening keynote, Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu presented Huawei’s artificial intelligence strategy, as well as the company’s full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio. Huawei’s AI portfolio now includes its new Ascend series of AI chips – the world’s first AI IP and chip series designed for a wide range of scenarios, including public clouds, private clouds, edge computing, industrial IoT devices, and consumer devices.
The portfolio also includes new products and cloud services that are built on Ascend chip capabilities.
Ten future changes: Driving Huawei’s AI strategy
Huawei predicts that by 2025, the world will see upwards of 40 billion personal smart devices, and 90% of device users will have a smart digital assistant. Data utilisation will reach 86% and AI services will be readily available, as prevalent as the air we breathe. According to Huawei, AI has become a new general purpose technology and will change all industries and organisations on earth.
Proactive change is the first step towards a better future in AI. Huawei has defined ten changes that will help pave the way. They include:
1. Faster model training
2. Abundant and affordable computing power
3. AI deployment and user privacy
4. New algorithms
5. AI automation
6. Practical application
7. Real-time, closed-loop system
8. Multi-tech synergy
9. Platform support
10. Talent availability
These ten changes are not only Huawei's hope for the AI industry; they are the inspiration behind its AI strategy. Eric Xu commented, “Huawei’s AI strategy is to invest in basic research and talent development, build a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio, and foster an open global ecosystem.”
He also said, “Within Huawei, we will continue exploring ways to improve management and efficiency with AI. In the telecom sector, we will adopt SoftCOM AI to make network O&M more efficient. In the consumer market, HiAI will bring true intelligence to our consumer devices, making them smarter than ever. Our Huawei EI public cloud services and FusionMind private cloud solutions will provide abundant and affordable computing power for all organisations – especially businesses and governments – and help them use AI with greater ease. Our portfolio will also include an AI acceleration card, AI server, AI appliance, and many other products.”
Huawei’s AI strategy has five areas of focus:
1. Invest in AI research: Develop fundamental capabilities for machine learning in domains like computer vision, natural language processing, and decision/inference, etc. Huawei places special emphasis on machine learning that is:
· data and power-efficient (i.e., less data, computing, and power needed)
· secure and trusted
2. Build a full-stack AI portfolio:
· Deliver abundant and affordable computing power
· Provide an efficient and easy-to-use AI platform with full-pipeline services
· Make the portfolio adaptive to all scenarios, both standalone and cooperative scenarios between cloud, edge, and device
3. Develop an open ecosystem and talent: Collaborate widely with global academia, industries, and partners.
4. Strengthen existing portfolio: Introduce an AI mindset and techniques into existing products and solutions to create greater value and enhance competitive strengths.
5. Drive operational efficiency at Huawei: Apply AI to massive volumes of routine business activities for better efficiency and quality.
Xu envisions that Huawei’s full-stack AI portfolio will speed up AI adoption in all industries to provide pervasive intelligence for a fully connected, intelligent world.
Huawei’s full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio: Abundant and affordable computing power will enable inclusive AI
As previously mentioned, Huawei also unveiled the Ascend AI IP and chip series, which has the capability to deliver excellent performance per watt in every scenario, whether it’s minimum energy consumption or maximum computing power in data centres. Its unified architecture also makes it easy to deploy, migrate, and interconnect AI applications across different scenarios.
The Ascend 910 and Ascend 310 chips, which were announced at today’s event, mark Huawei’s leading AI capabilities at the chip level – the bottom layer of the stack. These chips will help greatly accelerate AI adoption in all industries.
Apart from the Ascend series of chips, Huawei’s full-stack AI portfolio also includes the following:
· CANN (Compute Architecture for Neural Networks): A chip operators library and highly automated operators development toolkit
· MindSpore: A unified training and inference framework for device, edge, and cloud (both standalone and cooperative)
· Application enablement: Full-pipeline services (ModelArts), hierarchical APIs, and pre-integrated solutions