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Guizhou gears up in computing

Province eyes stronger capacity to keep pace with explosive growth in demand

By FAN FEIFEI in Beijing and YANG JUN in Guiyang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-13 09:33
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A technician checks equipment at a data center in Guiyang, Guizhou province, in May. [Photo/Xinhua]

Guizhou province in Southwest China will take further steps to speed up the construction of computing infrastructure and intelligent computing center clusters, with a key focus on artificial intelligence technology, as part of a broader push to develop new quality productive forces, a political adviser said.

Computing power is a key part of new quality productive forces for bolstering the high-quality development of the digital economy, said Jing Yaping, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body.

Jing, who is also director of the Big Data Development Administration of Guizhou province, said that at present, demand for computing capacity, especially intelligent computing, is witnessing explosive growth along with technological breakthroughs in AI-powered large language models.

She said the province will make efforts to improve the scheduling, allocation and utilization efficiency of computing power, nurture a batch of professional computing power operators, and promote the application of computing power in fields like industry, education, finance, transportation and healthcare.

A greater drive is needed to press ahead with the building of intelligent computing centers, enhance the operational efficiency of data centers, and upgrade and optimize key network infrastructure such as 5G base stations, she added.

China recently unveiled an implementation plan to accelerate the construction of a national computing power network. The plan, jointly released by the National Data Administration and four other central government departments, said the country will form a preliminary comprehensive computing power infrastructure system by the end of 2025.

According to the Government Work Report for this year, China will step up research and development, and application of big data and AI, launch an AI Plus initiative, and build digital industry clusters with international competitiveness.

Often dubbed China's big data hub, the mountainous province of Guizhou is China's first national big data comprehensive pilot zone, and it has been promoting the big data industry as the backbone of its high-quality social and economic development.

Jing said the province has sped up the building of basic systems for data, such as introducing a series of policy measures in the market-oriented allocation of data elements, management of government data resources and circulation and trading of data, as well as bolstering the high-quality supply of data, in a bid to unleash the massive value of data elements.

The Global Big Data Exchange in Guiyang has been a pioneer in propelling the flow and trading of data resources across the country. So far, the exchange has attracted 899 data merchants, with an annual transaction value surpassing 2 billion yuan ($278.7 million), she added.

Ma Ningyu, deputy Party secretary and mayor of Guiyang, and a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress, said the city has built a national computing power cluster and an independent and controllable computing service system.

It will, he added, continue to improve computing scale and the scheduling and operating level of computing power.

The proportion of digital economy in the city's GDP surpassed 50 percent in 2023, he said.

As the core area in national big data comprehensive experimental zone, Gui'an New Area of Guiyang boasts abundant computing power, data resources and application scenarios, Ma said.

To seize the opportunities from fast-developing artificial intelligence technology, he stressed the need to bolster industrial application of AI-powered large language models by providing high-performance computing power and high-quality data and accelerating the construction of LLM training platforms, as well as propel the digital transformation of enterprises.

China launched a mega-project involving the construction of eight national computing hubs and 10 national data center clusters in 2022, indicating that its work to channel more computing resources from the country's eastern regions to its lesser developed yet resource-rich western regions is in full swing.

Guizhou is among eight national computing hubs, with Gui'an New Area labeled as one of the 10 national data centers.

Most of China's computing infrastructure is distributed in eastern regions, while western regions have the potential to foster the development of data centers and meet the needs of data computing in eastern regions, said Yu Xiaohui, a member of the 14th CPPCC National Committee and head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

Yu said implementation of the east-data-west-computing project is conducive to optimizing the allocation of national computing power, utilizing green energy in the western regions and improving the energy efficiency of data centers.

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