Huawei has announced the launch new ranges of processors aimed at providing huge amounts of computing power, optimised for artificial intelligence workloads.
Called Ascend 910 and Ascend 310, the new chipsets are based on an architecture called Da Vinci, and were unveiled at Huawei Connect 2018 in Shanghai.
Huawei’s rotating chairman Eric Xu also unveiled the company’s strategy and a full stack of products and services to realise the goals of the Da Vinci project.
In addition to the company’s new line of Ascend chips, it includes a new AI framework called MindSpore, a platform-as-a-service product called ModelArts, and a lower-level library called Compute Architecture for Neural Networks (CANN).
Huawei also showed off the Ascend-Max, a processor built on Huawei’s Da Vinci core using a 7-nanometer fabrication process, which has a maximum power draw of 350W.
Ascend-Max can achieve 256 TeraFLOPS, or 256 trillion floating-point operations per second, with half-precision (16-bit) floating-point numbers. With 8-bit integer numbers, it can achieve 512 trillion operations per second.
While the Ascend 910 chipset and Ascend-Max processors are designed to be deployed in cloud environments, the chips built on the Ascend 310 platform are designed for low-power computing.
The Ascend-Mini system-on-chip also uses the Da Vinci core, and is fabricated using a 12nm process.
It is capable of 8 TeraFLOPS using half-precision floating-point numbers, and 16 TeraOPS with 8-bit integers. Its maximum power draw is 8W.
Along with the Ascend-Mini, Huawei has also announced the Ascend-Lite, Ascend-Tiny, and Ascend-Nano – all based on the Ascend 310 chipset. These low-power chips are designed to be used in smartphones, smart accessories, and smart watches.
Huawei will use its Ascend 310-based chips in a new range of AI products:
- Atlas 200 — AI Acceleration Module
- Atlas 300 — AI Acceleration Card
- Atlas 500 — AI Edge Station
- Atlas 800 — AI Appliance
- MDC 600 — Mobile Data Center
Xu said that Huawei will not sell its chips directly to third-parties, but will instead provide AI accelerator cards, modules, and servers to customers. These devices will start shipping in February 2019.
The table below summarises the applications that Huawei’s new Ascend 910 and Ascend 310 chips are designed for.
|Application||Earphones||Always-on / Wearable||Smartphone||Laptop||Industrial PC||Edge Server||Data Centre|
|Compute power||20 MOPS||100 GOPS||1-10 TOPS||10-20 TOPS||10-20 TOPS||10-100 TOPS||200+ TOPS|