Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Defying sanctions: China announced the creation of an AI chip 20% better than its counterpart from Nvidia

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun8,2024

Despite sanctions: China announced the creation of an AI chip 20% better than its counterpart from Nvidia

The Chinese company Huawei assures that its Ascend 910B AI model outperformed Nvidia's A100 in some applications.

Huawei's Ascend 910B AI chip outperformed Nvidia's A100 in some tests, a Huawei representative said at the World Semiconductor Conference in Nanjing. The South China Morning Post revealed the details.

In tests, the Huawei Ascend 910B AI chip was found to deliver 80% efficiency when training LLMs, the same as the Nvidia A100. But in some other tests, the Ascend chips outperform the A100 by 20%.

Huawei first introduced the Ascend processor series in 2019, four months after the company was hit by US sanctions. Since then, its AI strategy has focused on building an ecosystem of software and hardware designed to serve domestic customers who have lost access to similar technologies abroad. Ascend currently has 40 hardware vendor partners, 1,600 software vendor partners, and 2,900 AI application development partners.

Experts believe the AI ​​processors were manufactured by US-sanctioned company SMIC using advanced technology based on existing hardware. But analysts say it will be difficult for Chinese firms to build high-performance AI chips using older systems because such processors are much larger than smartphone chips. For example, the Nvidia A100 is 8 times larger than Apple's A13 mobile processor.

Nvidia has developed lower-quality chips specifically for customers in China to continue serving one of its largest markets. In the first half of last year, Nvidia's processors accounted for 90% of the total number of AI chips sold in China, while Huawei captured only 6% of the market.

Although Huawei's best chips are technologically inferior to Nvidia's latest GPUs, the Ascend 910B devices and Kunpeng have become the best alternative for Chinese companies working in the field of AI.

Ascend chips have become widely used in various industries thanks to the so-called AI boxes, which combine AI chips, machine learning algorithms and VMM. Chinese tech giants like Tencent Holdings and Baidu, startups like iFlyTek have bought 910B chips.

Huawei operates computer clusters running on Ascend chips in 19 cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The company also has plans to launch new online clusters in the capitals of major provinces.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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