Alibaba Bets on RISC-V and Custom AI Chips in an Attempt to Differentiate and Dictate Its Future

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By Lian Jye Su | 4Q 2019 | IN-5616

 

Xuantie and Hanguang, Alibaba's Double Blade in Chipset

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In its attempt to differentiate from the fierce competition of the public cloud market and reduce its reliance on Western supply, 2019 is shaping up to be a watershed year for Alibaba. In July 2019, Alibaba unveiled its first Reduced Instruction Set Computer Five (RISC-V) Computing Processing Unit (CPU), Xuantie 910, at the Alibaba Cloud Summit in Shanghai, China. This was immediately followed by the launch of Hanguang 800, an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) for cloud Artificial Intelligence (AI) inference workload in September 2019 at the Apsara Conference 2019 in Hangzhou, China.

Xuantie 910 is a 16-core, 2.5 GHz CPU based on a 12 nm process node and boosts maximum single core performance up to 7.1 CoreMark/MHz. Alibaba introduces more than 50 instructions to Xuantie’s RISC-V instruction set to enhance the processor's arithmetic operations, memory access, and multicore capabilities. The te...

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