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Baidu Announces AI Accelerator Kunlun Jul 10, 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif. — China’s Baidu followed in Google’s footsteps this week, announcing it has developed its own deep learning accelerator. The move adds yet another significant player to a long list in AI hardware, but details of the chip and when it will be used remain unclear.

Baidu will deploy Kunlun in its data centers to accelerate machine learning jobs for both its own applications and those of its cloud-computing customers. The services will compete with companies such as Wave Computing and SambaNova who aim to sell to business users appliances that run machine-learning tasks.

At the Beijing event this week, Baidu also announced an upgrade of its machine-learning service called Baidu Brian 3.0, supporting 110 APIs or SDKs including ones for face, video and natural language recognition. Users implementing the service with Baidu’s EasyDL tool to create computer vision models include one unnamed U.S. company deploying it at checkout stands in more than 160 grocery stores to check for unpaid products on the bottom shelf of a shopping cart.