Huawei Unveils AI-equipped Processor at IFA

Chinese company’s system-on-a-chip promises to shape the future

In the final keynote at IFA, Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu showcased the Kirin 970 processor, the Chinese company’s new system-on- a-chip (SoC). The Kirin 970 is the first mobile computer platform for artificial intelligence (AI) with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU).The Kirin 970 has a heterogeneous computing architecture and is powered by an octa-core CPU and a next-generation GPU with 12 cores.

Yu also confirmed that Huawei’s Mate 10 series of smartphones would use the chip, adding that this would be showcased at an event in Munich on October 16. He explained that Huawei combines the performance of the cloud with the speed and reactivity of native AI processing. The company has created completely new AI experiences, he said, which will transform the way we all interact with smartphones.

He explained that the Kirin 970 can handle the same AI computing tasks faster, consuming even less energy and delivering 25x performance and 50x higher ef ciency compared to a quad-core Cortex A-73. To highlight his point, he showed a demonstration of photo recognition, showing the Kirin 970’s NPU processing images at 20 times the speed of a CPU. He also outlined how combining cloud-based AI and on-device AI can help to balance power ef ciency and latency.

Huawei perceives the Kirin 970 as an open platform for mobile AI and will makes the SoC accessible to developers and partners. Artificial intelligence presents a number of challenges for the entire value chain, said Yu, but he added that the bene ts are profound.

“The future of smartphones is on the brink of an exciting new era,” said Yu. “Our formula for this is: Mobile AI = On-Device AI + Cloud AI. We want to turn smarter devices into intelligent devices in order to signi cantly improve the user experience. To achieve this, we are developing end-to-end capacities that enable co-ordinated development of chips, terminals and the cloud. The Kirin 970 is the first SoC in a series of innovations that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and make them stand out from the competition”.

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