Intel and Baidu collaborate on AI and 5G

  • September 16, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson
Zhenyu Hou (left) and Rui Wang

Intel is collaborating with Chinese tech giant Baidu in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, data centre and cloud computing infrastructure.

At this week’s Baidu World 2020, Intel and Baidu executives discussed the trends of intelligent infrastructure and intelligent computing, and shared details on the two companies’ strategic vision to drive the industry’s intelligent transformation within the cloud, network and edge computing environments.

“In China, the most important thing for developing an industry ecosystem is to truly take root in the local market and its users’ needs,” said Rui Wang (pictured right), Intel vice president and PRC country manager. “With the full-speed development of new infrastructure and 5G, China has entered the stage of accelerated development of the industrial internet. Intel and Baidu will collaborate comprehensively to create infinite possibilities for the future through continuous innovation, so technology can enrich the lives of everyone.”

Zhenyu Hou (pictured left), corporate vice president of Baidu, said Baidu and Intel were both extremely focused on technology innovation and have always been committed to promoting intelligent transformation through innovative technology exploration.

In the wave of new infrastructure, Baidu is deepening its collaboration with Intel to seize opportunities in the AI industry and bring more value to the industry, society and individuals.

The two companies have delivered technological innovations over the past decade, from search and AI to autonomous driving, 5G and cloud services. Recently Baidu and Intel worked on customising Intel Xeon scalable processors to deliver optimised performance, thermal design power, temperature and feature sets within Baidu’s cloud infrastructure.

With the third generation Xeon scalable processor with built-in BFloat16 instruction set, Intel supports Baidu’s optimisation of the PaddlePaddle framework to provide enhanced speech prediction services and multimedia processing support within the Baidu cloud to deliver optimised, efficient cloud management, operation and maintenance.

Intel and Baidu have designed and carried out the commercial deployment of 48V rack servers based on Xeon scalable processors to achieve higher rack power density, reduce power consumption and improve energy efficiency. The two companies are working to drive ecosystem maturity of 48V and promote the full adoption of 48V in the future based on the next Xeon scalable processor, code named Sapphire Rapids.

To improve virtualisation and workload performance, while accelerating data processing speeds and reducing total cost of ownership within Baidu infrastructure, Intel and Baidu are deploying smart NICs (network interface cards) based on Intel SoC FPGAs and the Ethernet 800 series adapter with application device queues technology. Smart NICs increase port speed, optimise network load, realise large-scale data processing, and create an efficient and scalable bare metal and virtualisation environment for the Baidu AI cloud.

Baidu smart NICs are built on the Intel Ethernet 800 series, Xeon-D processor and Arria 10-based FPGAs. From the memory and storage side, Intel and Baidu built a scalable and unified user space single-node storage engine using Intel Optane persistent memory and Optane NVMe SSDs to enable Baidu to configure multiple storage scenarios through one set of software.

In the area of 5G and edge computing, Intel and Baidu have used their technology expertise and collaborated on a joint innovation using the capabilities of the Openness (open network edge services software) toolkit developed by Intel and Baidu IME (intelligent mobile edge) to help achieve reliable edge compute with AI capabilities for low-latency applications.

Intel plans to continue to leverage its data centre portfolio to collaborate with Baidu on a variety of developments including:

  • Developing a future autonomous vehicle architecture platform and intelligent transportation vehicle-road computing architecture.
  • Exploring mobile edge computing to provide users with edge resources to connect Baidu AI operator services.
  • Expanding Baidu smart cloud in infrastructure technology.
  • Improving the optimisation of Xeon Scalable processors and PaddlePaddle.
  • Bringing benefits to Baidu online AI businesses, thus creating technology that enriches lives.