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Empowering developers for the new computing era

Apr 27, 2020 By Hou Jinlong, President of Cloud & AI BG, Huawei

I graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a computer science major in 1992 and started working on the development of China’s first-generation of digital program-controlled switches. Later I led R&D on China’s first-generation digital communication system (GSM) at Huawei. Over a decade or so, I wrote hundreds of thousands of lines of code.

Hou Jinlong

I remember at university, the best computer at the lab had computing power of fewer than 100 million operations per second. But today’s mobile phones boast over 400 times that power – adding NPU parallel computing to that, the difference is tens of thousands of times, showing just how fast computing power has changed. Indeed, developers today are blessed with sufficient computing power at their disposal to transform the world with code.

There’s a famous line from a superhero movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.” For us IT folks, it should be, “With great computing power comes great responsibility.” In the digital age, developers are a transformational power for the world. They’re the engines of enterprise innovation and the beating heart of industry advancement.

A new force of production

“New infrastructure” has attracted a lot of attention recently. “New” refers to the transition from the physical to the digital world through infrastructure construction. Developers are at the core of the digital world, and capabilities such as computing, cloud, and AI are the tools at their disposal.

The cornerstone of these tools is computing power, which is a new force of production. Huawei’s recently released Ubiquitous Computing Power Report reveals that per capita computing power correlates strongly with per capita GDP of countries.

More importantly, the report details how investment in computing power has a huge multiplier effect. For example, in manufacturing, US$ 1 invested in computing power can generate US$ 10 in total returns, which can have an enormous effect on driving economic development. We believe that just as electricity powers the physical world, computing power powers the digital world.

The world is calling out for diverse computing capabilities

We’ve entered the digital age. Moore’s Law as it relates to single chips is slowing down and traditional computing is no longer able to meet new requirements. Computing is entering a golden age of architecture innovation and the world is calling out for diverse computing power, which will be characterized by the following features:

Heterogeneous computing: Computing will evolve from general-purpose CPUs to parallel computing and distributed computing with ARM, as well as NPU and GPU processors.

Collaborative computing: 5G will enable data to be distributed more on the edge and by devices. Computing power will follow in the footsteps of data, and cloud-edge-device collaboration in computing will be achieved.

“Violent” computing: AI computing power is growing fast and it’s estimated that AI will generate more than 80 percent of computing power in data centers by 2025.

Ubiquitous computing: Computing power will be everywhere, including edge-device-cloud and embedded systems.

At HUAWEI CONNECT in September 2019, we unveiled our Kunpeng + Ascend dual-engine computing strategy and our commitment to delivering the most powerful computing power in the world.

Major advancements in the computing ecosystem

Huawei has achieved substantial progress in driving the development of the computing industry ecosystem with its open hardware, open-source software, and partner enablement strategy:

Open hardware: Huawei focuses on producing high-quality chips, boards, and motherboards to enable partners to develop own-brand integrated computing products. Eleven of our partner vendors have launched server and PC products based on Kunpeng motherboards, including Huanghe, Changhong Tiangong, Unishy, TongfangPC, and Xiangjiang, and their products are on the market now.

Open-source software: The openEuler open source community went live in December 2019. The long-term support (LTS) version was released in March 2020, which is available for all partners and developers free of charge. Huawei will prioritize support for partners to release commercial versions based on openEuler. Four of our partners – Kylinsoft, iSoft Infrastructure Software, Uniontech Software, and The Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) – have launched commercial versions of openEuler-based operating systems.

Enabling partners: Huawei has partnered with more than 600 independent software vendors (ISVs) across the globe and helped launch more than 1,500 Kunpeng-certified products and solutions. These numbers continue to grow rapidly. We welcome more partners to join us in unlocking this new blue ocean in the computing industry. We hope to make it so that 90 percent of applications can run on Kunpeng in three years.

By March 2020, Huawei had established 15 Kunpeng ecosystem innovation centers. Each center is a capability platform that helps developers understand and develop Kunpeng-based applications. We will also help developers to learn and use Kunpeng by giving out free learning vouchers, cloud vouchers, and fee subsidies to help partners gradually migrate applications.

Three tools for iterative innovation

To give developers access to Kunpeng and use it effectively, Huawei has created a cloud development platform, a set of development tools, and a developer community for Kunpeng.

Cloud development platform: HUAWEI CLOUD’s DevCloud development platform provides complete software development tools for developers, making Huawei’s 30 years of software development experience available. Its visualized and customizable automatic delivery pipeline makes development simple and efficient. DevCloud has been used in the development of over 500,000 projects by more than 400,000 users. A component of DevCloud, CloudIDE is a lightweight, web-based integrated development environment that supports Kunpeng native and multiple languages, streamlining development and runtime.

Development tools: At HUAWEI CONNECT 2019, Huawei released the Kunpeng development kit, which included compilers, analysis/scanning tools, code migration tools, and performance tuning tools. The newest addition to the development kit is the Kunpeng acceleration library. It boasts a basic library, compression library, encryption and decryption, storage, and multimedia functionalities. With less than 1 percent code changes, the solution boosts performance by at least 10 percent, and in scenarios such as encryption/decryption, by more than 100 percent. We will provide more acceleration libraries in the future to help developers continue to improve development and migration efficiency.

Developer community: The Kunpeng developer community provides a one-stop knowledge-sharing platform. It provides a 24/7 online expert service as well as a variety of information resources covering areas such as full-stack software/hardware, Kunpeng industry, policy releases, and certification queries. It also covers the entire talent training process including learning, practice, training, and examination.

Developer-oriented talent development system

In 2019, Huawei released Developer Program 2.0. As part of this, we will invest US$ 1.5 billion over five years to promote industry development and help cultivate 5 million developers worldwide. Through joint efforts with industry partners, the number of Huawei cloud developers has so far swelled to 1.6 million. In 2020, we will invest US$ 200 million in four areas: universities, startups, developers, and partners. All details of the incentives have been published on HUAWEI CLOUD’s website. For example, startups can receive up to 750,000 yuan (around US$ 106,000) in cloud coupons.

In addition, we provide resources, policies, and activities with optimized processes tailored to the different needs of developers at different stages. These include learning, training, building, and go-to-market.

More than 50 universities have joined the teaching and research support program: To help student developers master the development skills needed for the Kunpeng platform, Huawei has teamed up with over 50 universities to collaborate on Kunpeng-related teaching and scientific research and produce teaching materials. As part of this, we’ve published 20 textbooks and more than 200 online courses. In the future, more higher education institutions will join the program to help develop Kunpeng talent in partnership with Huawei.

24 types of Huawei certifications: Huawei has released 24 types of Kunpeng-related professional certifications, which are recognized by many enterprises and institutions. Kunpeng certifications are essential for Kunpeng partners and they can serve as powerful credentials in job searches and promotions.

Computing power is making developers ever-more powerful, and they’re leveraging this computing power to generate greater value. Developers are the beating heart of the computing industry. Huawei will continue to ramp up investment in Kunpeng to empower developers around the world and achieve shared success with all players in this new era.