Alibaba developing advanced chip for AI computing

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Two men chat beside a logo of Alibaba (China) Technology Co Ltd at its headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou. Photo: Reuters/Steven Shi

Alibaba’s R&D arm DAMO Academy said it is developing a neural network chip — Ali-NPU — which will be used in image analysis, machine learning and other AI reasoning calculations, Yicai.com reported.

Jiao Yang, researcher at DAMO Academy, said CPU or GPU, as a general-purpose computing chip, is designed to deal with thread logic and graphics. Thus, it requires high power consumption when dealing with AI computing problems.

According to the design, Alibaba’s Ali-NPU performance will be 10 times better than the mainstream AI chips based on CPU or GPU architecture on the market, while the manufacturing cost and power consumption are only half of that.

According to the report, the Ali-NPU’s price/performance ratio is expected to be 40 times that of current products.

When the product matures, it will provide public services through Alibaba Cloud.

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