Reshape the Computing Ecosystem to Advance Intelligence


[Shanghai, China, August 29, 2019] At the second World Artificial Intelligence Conference, David Wang, Executive Director of the Board and President of ICT Strategy and Marketing at Huawei, delivered a keynote speech titled "Reshape the Computing Ecosystem to Advance Intelligence". The script is as follows:

Good afternoon, 

Mr. Vice Minister, Mr. Deputy Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, friends, 

It's a great honor and pleasure to be here for the second World Artificial Intelligence Conference. Today, I'll share with you some of Huawei's progress in AI, our ideas on AI, and how industries can embrace AI to go intelligent.

The 2019 Gartner CIO Survey shows that the number of companies adopting AI has increased from 4% in the previous year to 14% today. As of the first half of 2019, the global AI core market has exceeded US$33.59 billion, up more than 30% over 2018. In China, AI has been widely adopted in robotics, security protection, finance, education, and autonomous driving. These five industries contribute to 60% of industrial AI applications. That means an intelligent world powered by AI is arriving faster than we imagined. 

AI will boom in multiple industries in the next decade

This curve represents our view on the long-term development of AI. As a general-purpose technology, AI is moving from phase 1 to phase 2. AI is now interacting more with our society, and we are finding synergies in many places. But we find that AI on the Internet has run into a developmental glass ceiling. Huawei's Global Industry Vision report predicts that 86% of global companies will adopt AI by 2025. Now is the time for industries to embrace intelligence. Moving forward, we expect to see an AI boom in industrial applications, and AI will become deeply integrated with every aspect of the real economy. 

Computing power is the basis of AI 

Compared with labeled data and algorithms, computing power is bricks and mortar of AI. 

In the academic world, those with the most powerful computing capabilities usually produce more research results, and faster. It is reported that Google contributes 30% of AI papers each year. This is because Google has its tensor processing units, with very powerful computing engines.

Autonomous driving, for example, requires huge computing power to support intelligent analysis in real time. Before carmakers release any autonomous driving software, they need to do massive amounts of autonomous driving model training in data centers. Therefore, computing power directly determines when autonomous driving vehicles are ready for commercial use.

It is also predicted that the demand for AI computing power will grow 10-fold every year. That means computing power will play an increasingly important role in helping all industries become intelligent.

Diversity in applications and data requires diversified computing

With advances in 5G, IoT, smart devices, and autonomous driving, increasingly diverse industrial applications for AI have emerged. Device-cloud synergy, intelligent edge computing, and massive data processing are finding applications in more and more different use cases. More applications means more diverse data, including structured and unstructured data, numbers, text, images, and video.

To cope with diversified applications and data, we will need more diversified computing power. The traditional computing ecosystem around x86+GPU can no longer meet the computing needs of industrial AI applications.

Ascend and Kunpeng reshape the computing ecosystem to advance intelligence

Over the past 30 years, Huawei has been committed to delivering the world's best connectivity through innovation. As the intelligent world draws nearer, we are shifting our focus from connectivity alone to connectivity and computing. With this new strategic focus, we aspire to provide abundant and more affordable computing power and to create long-term value for our customers.

In Q3 2018 and Q1 2019, Huawei launched two new processors, Ascend and Kunpeng. Ascend is primarily designed for AI computing, and Kunpeng for general computing. Huawei is going to put the Ascend and Kunpeng processors at the core of our business. With the Ascend series, we will develop full-stack AI solutions applicable in all scenarios, and Kunpeng will serve all industries. We have completed system-level verification for mainboards, servers, operating systems, cloud services, and applications.

With Kunpeng and Ascend onboard, we hope to drive the computing industry towards more diversified computing, including x86, ARM, GPU, and NPU; and to build a fully connected, intelligent world.

Ascend AI processor: AI for the full stack and for all scenarios

Around a year ago, we announced our AI strategy and full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio right here. But a lot has changed over the past six months, and many people have been concerned about our progress with the AI strategy.

First, I'll talk about Ascend 310, which we launched last year. Based on Ascend 310, we have put our Atlas and mobile data center (MDC) products into commercial use. We have worked with carmakers around the world on shuttle buses, new energy vehicles, and autonomous driving. Dozens of AI partners are using our Atlas series acceleration cards and servers in dozens of different industries, such as smart transportation and smart grid.

We've also launched HUAWEI CLOUD services using Ascend 310. This includes over 50 APIs for image analysis, optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent video analysis, and other services. Currently, there are over 100 million API calls per day. The number is rapidly increasing and we estimate that it will reach more than 300 million by the end of the year.

Next, I would like to update you on the commercial use of ModelArts. ModelArts supports full-pipeline model production, from data collection and model development to model training and deployment. It performs over 4,000 training tasks per day, which is a total of 32,000 training hours. 85% of the training tasks are visual tasks, 10% of them are audio tasks, and 5% of them are machine learning tasks. ModelArts is now being used by more than 30,000 developers.

Just a week ago, we launched Ascend 910 and MindSpore in Shenzhen. Ascend 910 is the industry's most powerful AI processor and MindSpore is the all-scenario AI computing framework. These two products show that we have built a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio and that we are actively pushing our AI strategy forward.

Kunpeng general-purpose processor: Linking up industries, system-level verification completed

We launched the Kunpeng 920 processor on January 7 this year. It is the industry's highest-performance ARM-based processor. To build a computing ecosystem around Kunpeng, the key is to fully unleash Kunpeng's huge computing power.

The Kunpeng processor boasts high performance, multi-core and high concurrency, high throughput, and ARM-native compute. Huawei uses Kunpeng widely in its own products and services, including servers, storage, databases, big data, and HUAWEI CLOUD services.

By adapting to business scenarios from end to end, the Kunpeng processor can link up industries across the entire ecosystem. Huawei has completed system-level verification for Kunpeng, laying a solid foundation for the Kunpeng computing ecosystem to prosper.

Large-scale commercial use of Kunpeng in multiple industries

Together with our partners, we have provided Kunpeng-based data center infrastructure and services to customers in several different industries, such as smart city, telecoms, finance, and Internet. The telecoms sector, for example, has extremely high standards for network performance and quality. And China Mobile Zhejiang has already made the first VoLTE call using Kunpeng. 

At Huawei, we believe those who make parachutes should be the first to try them. Since 2016, we have been using Kunpeng in our own IT systems. These systems are accessed more than 300,000 times each month, and they continue to provide solid support for Huawei's R&D, manufacturing, and other day-to-day work.

As of today, we have deployed over 100,000 Kunpeng-based devices in data centers across the world. These devices include servers, storage devices, and network equipment. We believe that as Kunpeng becomes a more fundamental component in many industries, Huawei and its partners will develop more industry solutions and benefit industry customers with more diverse applications.

Hardware + software to unleash huge computing power

Windows and Intel have long been close partners in the X86 ecosystem, working together to make full use of the computing power available and to build a prosperous ecosystem. Data shows that servers will unleash their computing power to the fullest extent when we integrate them with operating systems, compilers, the tool chain, and an acceleration library. This is how we guarantee the success of a computing ecosystem.

Many companies made efforts to offer diversified computing power, but failed to effectively integrate servers with operating systems, compilers, and the tool chain. Within many ecosystems, the operating system may not be updated for years at a time, making it difficult to fully unleash the computing power of servers. To address this problem, Huawei will integrate hardware with software in the Kunpeng ecosystem, delivering vast computing power to the entire world.

Open source and open ecosystem to enable partner success

The Kunpeng ecosystem cannot grow without the concerted efforts of both upstream and downstream partners. To unleash the computing power of Kunpeng servers, we will stay committed to open source and an open ecosystem to help partners succeed.

For example, we will help hardware partners develop computing products like servers and PCs, and enable software partners to innovate with Kunpeng servers.

For online scenarios, we will use Kunpeng to develop more diverse HUAWEI CLOUD services, allowing our partners to develop their own cloud applications on Kunpeng. For offline scenarios, we will offer a tool chain, compilers, and an acceleration library to help partners and developers migrate and debug their applications more efficiently.

Reshaping the computing ecosystem powered by Kunpeng

The success of the IT industry depends on the success of its ecosystems. Huawei is committed to enabling partners in the Kunpeng ecosystem, and will create value for the industry in the following three ways:

-Integrated industry applications: Huawei will foster a complete ecosystem and a range of competitive solutions for key industries, including government, finance, telecoms, and Internet.

-Alliances to develop standards: We will develop basic hardware and software standards through the Green Computing Consortium and Edge Computing Consortium, and build a healthy industry.

-Developer community: Developers are the core of any industry. Huawei will build the Kunpeng developer community into a major computing community, with the goal of having one million developers in five years' time.

Moving forward, we will seize the future and reshape the computing industry with technological innovation. We look forward to working with partners and customers to foster an open computing ecosystem around Kunpeng, and to making the intelligent world a reality.

Build, share, and win with Shanghai

We welcome more partners and organizations to join the Kunpeng ecosystem, and share its benefits and successes with us. Right now, at the Huawei Intelligent Computing Session, Huawei and the Shanghai Municipal Government are launching the Kunpeng Industry Ecosystem Innovation Center.

The innovation center is located in Xuhui District in Shanghai, and will build links with all of the innovation hubs in Shanghai and the surrounding cities. It will be focused on strategic investment in IT application and innovation, particularly in benchmark projects for the Kunpeng ecosystem. The innovation center will bring together upstream and downstream companies and drive industry upgrades, so that businesses in this region can achieve higher quality, more efficient growth.

The innovation center will use Kunpeng technology to act as an enabling platform for technologies, businesses, and talent, and support innovations of companies in this region. Its ultimate goal is to foster a competitive Kunpeng ecosystem across the globe.

At this year's HUAWEI CONNECT 2019 to be held from September 18 to 20, Huawei will continue its tight focus on AI and computing. This event will bring together industry leaders, ICT experts, engineers, and analysts to discuss how to take the industry forward. At this year's event, we will announce more heavyweight solutions and industry applications. Please stay tuned.

Thank you for your time!