Powering Baidu’s ABC Vision with Intel Architecture

Every time I travel to China, I can’t help feeling thrilled by the pace of innovation happening here, and the passion of individuals and organizations towards change, change that disrupts tradition with the introduction of new technologies. Last week, I had the pleasure to speak at the Baidu ABC Summit where we announced the Baidu Intel Joint AI Solution Center and shared the latest in our collaboration to spur innovation in ABC, which stands for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cloud Computing, the three foundational pillars underpinning Baidu’s vision for business transformation.

AI and Deep Learning

AI is poised to have a transformative effect on the consumer, enterprise, and government markets around the world, and impact everything from financial services, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and more.

At Intel, we have a commitment to the democratization of AI, spreading AI from an elite few to the mass-market. Together with Baidu, we are making this vision a reality through the launch of an AI Solution Center. This joint effort unifies our hardware and software competencies and provides our customers with a simple, scalable and comprehensive way to utilize Intel’s latest AI technologies and solutions in Baidu’s cloud environment.

  • Simple:  There is no upfront cost to start. Customers can develop, test and run AI applications in the Baidu Intel AI Cloud which supports a suite of major deep learning frameworks. Furthermore, the AI infrastructure offered is easy to program and operate through common programming and management of the Intel platform.
  • Scalable:  Users can start small with one application or proof of concept, and when they are ready to go big, scale elastically to a large deployment.
  • Comprehensive:  Baidu and Intel jointly offer a holistic portfolio of tools and solutions to aid in every step of the AI workflow from characterizing the problem and understanding design approaches to production deployments.

This AI solution center is expected to go live in the next quarter.

In addition, there has been continued optimization of AI frameworks on the latest and greatest Intel hardware and libraries. Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors have built-in deep learning and neural network enhancement through the Intel® Math Kernel Library for Deep Learning Networks (MKL-DNN) and Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) to enhance neural network training and reasoning performance. Leveraging these technologies, Baidu has greatly optimized the Paddle Paddle open source deep learning framework doubling its performance.

Big Data

For most enterprises, an advanced analytics journey started with big data.  As a result, enterprises have strong desire to take the path of adding deep learning capabilities to existing infrastructure. This motivated Intel to develop an open source BigDL, a distributed deep learning library for Apache Spark™. With BigDL, users can write their deep learning applications as standard Apache Spark programs, which run on existing Apache Spark or Hadoop clusters. Baidu Cloud will offer a unified data analytics platform featuring BigDL and Hadoop, aiming to enable customers to run Deep Learning applications without having to invest into separate frameworks to take advantage of neural networks capabilities.

Cloud Computing

As industries increasingly move their applications to the cloud for improved business agility and scalability, the pressure builds for cloud service providers to optimize performance for a variety of workloads, especially compute- and data-intensive AI and Big Data workloads. Intel collaborated with Baidu through the delivery of custom CPUs specifically crafted for Baidu’s workloads to deliver enhanced performance efficiency and end-user experience. With the significant performance efficiency gains brought about by the Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Baidu is well poised to enable its customers from various industries to use the best technology available to succeed in today’s competitive business world.

Tomorrow’s business success hinges on organization’s ability to derive data-driven insights, fast. The innovations Intel and Baidu are delivering will help harness the data into actionable information. I encourage you to stay tuned for more news on the AI solution center offering and sign up for a free trial. To learn how we help cloud service providers like Baidu deliver performance efficiency, agile trusted infrastructure, and differentiated cloud services, go to http://www.intel.com/CSP.