Huawei launches 'world's most powerful' AI processor, framework

August 26, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Huawei launches 'world's most powerful' AI processor, framework
Huawei has launched a new AI processor, the Ascend 910, as part of the series of Ascend-Max chipsets. The company also announced MindSpore, an AI computing framework that supports development for AI applications in all scenarios.

Huawei announced the processor's planned specs at its 2018 flagship event, Huawei Connect. After a year of ongoing development, test results now show that the Ascend 910 AI processor delivers on its performance goals with much lower power consumption than originally planned.

For half-precision floating point (FP16) operations, Ascend 910 AI processor delivers 256 TeraFLOPS. For integer precision calculations (INT8), it delivers 512 TeraOPS. Despite its unrivaled performance, Ascend 910's max power consumption is only 310-W, much lower than its planned specs (350-W).

"Ascend 910 performs much better than we expected," said Eric Xu, Huawei's Rotating Chairman. "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.

In 2018, Huawei announced the three development goals for its AI framework:

  • Easy development: Dramatically reduces training time and costs;
  • Efficient execution: Uses the least amount of resources with the highest possible OPS/W;
  • Adaptable to all scenarios: Including device, edge, and cloud applications.

MindSpore marks significant progress towards these goals. As privacy protection grows more important than ever, support for all scenarios is essential for enabling secure, pervasive AI. This is a key component in the MindSpore framework, which can readily adapt to different deployment needs. Resource budget environments can be as large and complicated or small and simple as needed – MindSpore supports them all.

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