Baidu, China’s answer to Google and the country’s leading internet search provider, and Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced in mid-December that Baidu’s first-ever cloud-to-edge accelerator, Baidu KUNLUN, has completed development and is ready for mass production from early 2020.
A product image of the KUNLUN AI chip developed by Samsung Electronics and Baidu. Image Credit: Samsung.
Baidu’s KUNLUN Chip
The KUNLUN chip has been built using the company’s proprietary advanced XPU, a homemade neural processor architecture for applications in the cloud, edge, and AI, alongside Samsung’s 14nm process technology with its Interposer-Cube (I-cube) package solution.
As higher performance is required to support a rapidly growing and diverse range of powerful technology applications and solutions such as AI and high-performance computing, chip integration technology is becoming more and more important. Samsung’s I-Cube technology provides higher density and bandwidth at a low profile.
In terms of its technical specification, the chip offers 512GB per second memory bandwidth and is capable of supplying up to 260 Tera operations per second at 150 watts. Additionally, KUNLUN will use Baidu’s ‘Ernie’, a natural language processing framework, which is said by Baidu to be up to three times faster than conventional GPUs.
Baidu and Samsung noted in their press release that with KUNLUN, Baidu will be able to support large-scale AI workloads such as speech recognition, deep learning, autonomous driving, and search ranking. This is thanks to the chip’s sheer computing power and its general power efficiency.
The KUNLUN chip was engineered with the ability to support large-scale AI workloads in mind.
The Samsung-Baidu Collaboration
The collaboration between Samsung and Baidu is the two companies’ first foundry cooperation. Through this partnership, Baidu will provide advanced AI platforms for maximizing AI performance while Samsung will expand its own foundry business into high-performance computing chips created specifically for cloud and edge computing.
Jian OuYang, a ‘Distinguished Architect’ at Baidu, said, “We are excited to lead the HPC industry together with Samsung Foundry. Baidu KUNLUN is a very challenging project since it requires not only high level of reliability and performance at the same time, but is also a compilation of the most advanced technologies in the semiconductor industry. Thanks to Samsung’s state of the art process technologies and competent foundry services, we were able to meet and surpass our goal to offer superior AI user experience.”