Rapid GPU Evolution at Chinese Web Giant Tencent


Like other major hyperscale web companies, China's Tencent, which operates a massive network of ad, social, business, and media platforms, is increasingly reliant on two trends to keep pace. The first is not surprising--efficient, scalable cloud computing to serve internal and user demand. The second is more recent and includes a wide breadth of deep learning applications, including the company's own internally developed Mariana platform, which powers many user-facing services. When the company introduced its deep learning platform back in 2014 (at a time when companies like Baidu, Google, and others were expanding their GPU counts for speech and image recognition applications) they noted their main challenges were in providing adequate compute power and parallelism for fast model training. "For example," Mariana's creators explain, "the acoustic model of automatic speech recognition for Chinese and English in Tencent WeChat adopts a deep neural network with more than 50 million parameters, more than 15,000 senones (tied triphone model represented by one output node in a DNN output layer) and tens of billions of samples, so it would take years to train this model by a single CPU server or off-the-shelf GPU."

Baidu posts third-quarter profit just shy of 3b yuan


Baidu has released its third-quarter financial results, announcing an operating profit of 2.787 billion yuan, up 11 percent year on year. The Chinese search engine giant reported total revenue of 18.253 billion yuan for the third quarter of 2016, with online marketing revenues decreasing by 6.7 percent over last year to come in at 16.49 billion yuan. The partnership combines Nvidia's self-driving computing platform with Baidu's cloud and mapping technology to develop an algorithm-based operating system capable of powering complex navigation systems in autonomous vehicles. In the three months to September 30, 2016, Baidu spent 2.614 billion yuan on research and development.

Intel Challenges Nvidia in Machine Learning


At the Intel Developer Forum yesterday, the company even brought out an executive from Chinese cloud giant Baidu to talk about the Xeon Phi, Intel's machine learning chip. Intel executive vice president Diane Bryant mentioned Nervana during yesterday's keynote, but with the deal still not closed, it's understandable that she didn't articulate Intel's plans for the startup. In addition to Baidu's senior vice president Jing Wang, Bryant brought out Slater Victoroff, founder of Indico, a startup using deep learning to analyze text and images. He said he prefers the Intel model, where the host processor also runs the deep learning algorithms.