Alibaba Unveils AI Chip to Enhance Cloud Computing Power

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It is currently being used internally within Alibaba’s business operations, especially in product search and automatic translation on e-commerce sites, personalized recommendations, advertising, and intelligent customer services

Alibaba Group has unveiled its first AI inference chip developed by T-Head under the Alibaba DAMO Academy, an initiative to lead technology development and scientific research.

 

 

About Hanguang 800

The high-performance AI inference chip, a neural processing unit (NPU) named Hanguang 800 specializes in the acceleration of machine learning tasks. It is currently being used internally within Alibaba’s business operations, especially in product search and automatic translation on e-commerce sites, personalized recommendations, advertising, and intelligent customer services. These areas require extensive computing power for AI tasks to optimize the shopping experience.

Propelled by a self-developed hardware framework, as well as highly-optimized algorithm designs that are tailored for business applications such as retail and logistics in the Alibaba ecosystem, Hanguang 800 has recorded remarkable performance in tests. The single-chip computing performance reached 78,563 IPS at peak moment, while the computation efficiency was 500 IPS/W during the Resnet-50 Inference test.

Both performance scores largely outpace the industry average, showcasing advantages underscored by a remarkable balance between powerful computing capabilities and the highest level of computational efficiency.

“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,” said Jeff Zhang, Alibaba Group CTO and President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

He added, “In the near future, 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’s research unit, T-Head leads the innovation around chip design for both cloud and edge computing. They are also responsible for nurturing an inclusive edge-to-cloud computing ecosystem by collaborating with global partners in the chip industry. Earlier this year, T-Head debuted XuanTie 910, a high-performance IoT processor based on RISC-V, the open-source instruction set architecture (ISA).

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