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Huawei reckons it can strong ARM its way into AI world with new chips

We're assuming Chinese giant will use ARM in ML processors. It probably will, right?

Chinese systems colossus Huawei claims it is developing chips optimized for artificial-intelligence tasks.

The silicon will combine an application CPU, a graphics processing unit, and a hardware engine for accelerating machine-learning algorithms, it's reported. Technical details are scant, unfortunately.

The components will be unveiled later this year, we're told. Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu hopes the technology will help the electronics giant compete against Google and Apple in the realm of AI processor development. In other words, Huawei wants you using its specialized chips for running artificial intelligence code, be it on a phone or whatever, and not Apple's nor Google's.

As you probably know, Huawei produces system-on-chips, and has its own fabless semiconductor subsidiary, HiSilicon, located in Shenzhen, China. It has purchased licenses to use various ARM CPU core designs, and developed Kirin chips for use in Huawei's smartphones and tablet computers. So far, so Apple.

The Chinese goliath has an AI research partnership with the University of California at Berkeley, bringing together Berkeley's AI Research facility (BAIR) and Huawei's Noah's Ark Lab. The alliance is looking at deep learning, reinforcement learning, machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision.

BAIR also works with Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Adobe, Amazon, Yahoo! Japan, Nvidia, Intel, and Siemens. Noah's Ark Lab has facilities in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and its research areas include:

  • Machine learning
  • Data mining
  • Speech and language processing
  • Information and knowledge management
  • Intelligent systems

A branch will be opened in Paris, we're told, and it will do research on intelligent telecommunication networks using machine learning.


Huawei Noah's Ark Lab

Wan Biao, chief operating officer of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, said there are three phases of AI development: Enable Me, Know Me, and Be Me. It's in the "Know Me" phase at the moment, apparently. We can add a fourth phase running in parallel, called "Chip Me." Perhaps it will step onto the public stage at Huawei's Connect 2017 event in Shanghai, running from September 5 to 7. ®

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