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Baidu launches AI platform to further expand cloud usage

By Liu Zheng | | Updated: 2016-12-01 14:16

Baidu launches AI platform to further expand cloud usage

Zhang Yaqin, president of Baidu Inc, delivers a keynote speech on Nov 30, 2016 at the ABC Summit held in Beijing. [Photo by Liu Zheng/]

Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for commercial users at an industry summit held in Beijing on Wednesday.

Called "Tianzhi", the platform is powered by Baidu's cloud computing technologies and contains three sub-layers, including perception, machine learning and deep learning.

The "ABC Summit", focusing on embracing AI, Big Data and cloud computing technologies, is the first of its kind held by the company.

"Cloud computing was recognized as an infrastructure investment for corporate users several years ago, but the market demand for cloud-driven AI platform has seen rapidly growth since this year," said Zhang Yaqin, president of Baidu.

According to Zhang, the company reserves the ability to present its AI technology to the market through the cloud computing platform.

Baidu unveiled an AI system called the Baidu Brain earlier this year, featuring state-of-the-art technology for recognizing and processing speech, images and words, as well as building user profiles based on big data analysis.

The company has implemented the technologies in order to develop intelligent mapping, translation, advertising services and self-driving operating systems.

Zhang said the Baidu Brain is the core engine of Baidu's cloud and the latter provides "neurons" and "training data" to the "brain".

Currently the company has established cooperation with more than 30,000 enterprises to deploy its cloud services in the sectors of logistics, medical care, education, marketing and finance.

Liu Yang, joint general manager of Baidu's cloud business arm, said the company has unveiled more than 80 products specialized in providing cloud services to its users.

The cloud division has also collaborated with transport regulators and business partners to jointly launch a smart transportation ecological alliance, aiming to implement technology innovation in the industry.

By deploying Baidu's cloud services, transport statistics collected from ground, underground, waterways and air routes in different administrative regions will be classified, abstracted and utilized to build an intelligent transportation system.

Another industry that benefits from the cloud technology is autonomous cars.

Baidu launches AI platform to further expand cloud usage

A truck equipped with Baidu's autonomous technologies is on display at the ABC Summit held on Nov 30 in Beijing. [Photo by Liu Zheng/]

The company rolled out two core technologies to fuel not only global leading autonomous pioneers, such as BMW and Audi, but also support domestic latecomers during the development process.

Gu Weihao, general manager of Baidu Intelligent Vehicle, known as the L3 Division of the internet company, said that the first technology is a focus on a branch of AI called deep learning, which is able to give vehicles optimal image sensing and recognition. The other is Baidu's high-precision maps.

Baidu is not the only company in China expanding efforts on cloud technology.

Aliyun, the cloud service arm of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, recently said it would launch four new data centers across the world, which has been read as a move to compete against Amazon and Microsoft.

The data centers will be located in Dubai, Tokyo, Sydney and Germany, and it brings the number of Aliyun data centers outside China up to eight.

American technology and market research company Forrester predicts that the global public cloud market will be $146 billion in 2017, up from $87 billion in 2015.

"Seventy-seven percent of Chinese enterprise infrastructure decision-makers said that using a public cloud platform is a high or critical priority over the next 12 months, versus 58 percent of their global peers," the company said.

Forrester believes that the public cloud market in China will increase from $1.8 billion in 2015 to $3.8 billion by 2020.


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