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Alibaba Unveils AI Chip to Enhance Cloud Computing Power

Alibaba Group unveils its first AI inference chip developed by T-Head.

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.

The high-performance AI inference chip, a neural processing unit (NPU) named Hanguang 800 that specializes in the acceleration of machine learning tasks, was announced at Alibaba Cloud’s annual flagship Apsara Computing Conference. 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 the AI tasks to optimize the shopping experience.

A key goal for Alibaba Cloud is to offer a leading technology infrastructure that benefits companies of all sizes and narrows existing gaps in the access to technology, ultimately making the world more inclusive.

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.

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