Huawei made a major AI announcement today with its Ascend 910 data center and cloud targeted chipsets, as well as a new soon to be open-sourced framework called MindSpore.
Huawei has been positioning itself to be an AI powerhouse for the past 2-3 years.
But it’s been eyeing a more competitive position, in the market for data center and cloud-based processing, spurred by Chinese government’s goal of being a worldwide leader in AI.
The Ascend 910 is a high-end, 300+ watt system on a chip that’s certainly not going to make it into the phone or smart appliance (its lower-end Ascend 310 targeted at lower power mostly inference solutions may).
Rather, it’s targeted squarely at the AI training market, where companies like Nvidia have staked a major claim, where Intel is pushing on the boundaries of its x86 architectures (but mostly for inference rather than training), and where specialty TPU chips from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, etc., want to dominate.
When asked about pricing for this chip, Huawei wasn’t committal but said it would be competitive with higher-end devices, like those from Nvidia, currently running as much as $10K each.