Alibaba Unveils Its First Home-Grown AI Chip

Henry Chan   Sep 25, 2019 16:00 1 Min Read

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This article is contributed by our content partner, Nexchange NOW.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba unveiled its first artificial intelligence inference chip on Wednesday, a move which could further invigorate its already rip-roaring cloud computing business.

According to the SCMP, the chip, called the Hanguang 800, specializes in speeding up machine learning tasks while being more energy efficient. It can purportedly finish a multi-hour task in just five minutes, using just one-tenth the hardware traditional GPUs and CPUs would usually need.

“The launch of Hanguang 800 is an important step in our pursuit of next-generation technologies, boosting computing capabilities that will drive both our current and emerging businesses while improving energy-efficiency,” Jeff Zhang, Alibaba Group CTO and Alibaba Cloud Intelligence president, said in a statement.

“We plan to empower our clients by providing access through our cloud business to the advanced computing that is made possible by the chip, anytime and anywhere.”

Alibaba has already begun using the chip to power certain features on its website, including product search, automatic translation, and personalized recommendations. It has, however, no plans to sell it to third parties just yet.

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