Huawei Expands its AI Ambition With Pangu Large Models

  • Huawei has underlined its pivotal new objective for 2024 – to capitalize on AI’s strategic prospects and enhance intelligence from networks to industries.
  • Huawei not only aims to dedicate resources towards fundamental AI research to foster continuous innovation but also aims to actively participate in the formation of global AI policies.
  • During the summit, Huawei revealed the current progress in training Pangu models with an impressive 230 billion parameters.

Huawei conducted its annual Huawei Analyst Summit (HAS) in Shenzhen, China, between April 17 and April 20. A team of analysts from Counterpoint attended this 21st edition of HAS to get updates on the company’s progress, vision, and strategy for 2024 and beyond. We utilized the opportunity to also enquire about Huawei’s AI strategy during the keynote’s Q&A segment with Huawei Deputy Chairman and Rotating Chairman Eric Xu.

It was clear from Xu’s statements and the keynote that this year’s HAS marked a leap forward for Huawei from previous events. The company underlined its pivotal new objective for 2024 – to capitalize on AI’s strategic prospects and enhance intelligence from networks to industries. Huawei intends to harness AI to boost the appeal and performance of its products and services, optimize internal operations, and save as well as make more money by improving business and operational performance across industries. Huawei not only aims to dedicate resources towards fundamental AI research to foster continuous innovation but also aims to actively participate in the formation of global AI policies.

Pangu models take the spotlight

Pangu models, introduced by Huawei in 2021 as the world’s largest pre-trained Chinese large language models (LLMs) with over 100 billion parameters, are now advancing into their fourth iteration. During the summit, Huawei revealed the current progress in training Pangu models with an impressive 230 billion parameters.

Pangu for industry

Huawei is helping industries with its ready-to-call AI models in the form of Ascend AI-as-a-Service models. Also, Huawei has already successfully implemented its Pangu large models in industry-specific applications to drive value creation and solve major challenges. Notable deployments driving intelligent R&D and manufacturing include:

  • AI-assisted coding copilot that enhances R&D efficiency by 50%.
  • AI-augmented visual inspection systems in manufacturing that attain an accuracy rate of 99%.
  • Pangu Mining Model intelligently analyses the quality of stress relief drilling and assists rock-burst prevention personnel in quality verification in a coal mine.
  • It helps reduce manual review workload by 82% and delivers a 100% acceptance rate for rock burst prevention engineering work.

Pangu for science

Huawei also highlighted Pangu’s advanced simulation technologies for science:

  • Pangu-Weather brings a revolutionary increase in the speed of weather forecasting. It achieves a simulation velocity that is 10,000 times faster than current standards. Such a leap could drastically improve the precision and reliability of meteorological predictions, benefiting everything from agriculture to disaster preparedness.
  • Pangu Fluid focuses on fluid dynamics simulations, with speeds exceeding current capabilities by 20 times or more. Enhanced simulation speeds can be crucial for a range of applications, including aerodynamics, climate research and engineering. 
  • Pangu Drug points toward a breakthrough in drug discovery with the generation of 100 million new molecules and a tenfold increase in the efficiency of drug design processes. Notably, it also claims a 50% increase in the success rate, potentially accelerating the pace of pharmaceutical innovation and therapeutic breakthroughs.

Next move: Pangu for device, Celia as super AI agent

Amid the surge of LLM chatbots like ChatGPT, Huawei is set to transform its smart assistant Celia into an advanced AI agent. This upgrade will be powered by its Pangu foundation models at the device level.

Celia will be equipped with capabilities for perceiving user intent, delivering anticipatory services, summarizing content, conducting intelligent image searches, and providing a superior AI experience in varied contexts such as work, fitness, entertainment, travel, and home settings.

Key takeaways

  • Huawei’s Pangu models distinctively target industrial applications, optimizing operations, product R&D and software engineering with remarkable precision and speed, setting them apart from broader-focus models like Baidu’s Ernie Bot and Alibaba’s Tongyi Qianwen. However, this might limit their applicability in general-purpose generative AI models, where applications such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT excel.
  • Given Huawei’s well-established ecosystem, the success of Pangu models in industrial settings heavily relies on collaborations with its partners. This could restrain its ability to operate and scale independently.
  • Despite lagging behind SenseTime and Baidu in LLM and multimodal generative AI, Huawei is playing catchup, injecting more resources into fundamental AI research, especially in the areas of AI agent and world model building, the core technologies for realizing on-device chatbot and text-to-video applications.
  • Challenges remain in getting the required computing power for training larger AI models, as Huawei’s in-house Ascend 910B processors, while capable, still fall short of the superior performance levels offered by NVIDIA’s latest chips.
  • In summary, the 2024 edition of HAS unveiled Huawei’s aggressive AI strategy, marking a strategic pivot to capitalize on the capabilities of its Pangu foundation models, with significant ramifications across diverse industries.

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