Alibaba’s cloud-computing unit AliCloud has announced the launch of a new suite of big-data solutions, as well as a partnership with U.S. chipmaker NVIDIA to create China’s first Internet-based high-performance graphics processing service.
The initiatives were revealed at a computing conference held by the Alibaba Group subsidiary in Shanghai today, which saw 3,000 industry representatives from the company’s global partners, developers, entrepreneurs and government agencies.
AliCloud serves Alibaba Group’s e-commerce websites and external clients including both international businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises in China. Its newly announced Big Data Platform will offer 20 solutions covering all aspects of data development, including computation, information processing and analysis and so-called machine learning. Over the next three years, the company will partner with about a thousand data developers, who will in turn leverage the platform to provide these solutions to their customers.
Clients of AliCloud’s Big Data Platform include financial institutions such as Zhongan Securities Co., online ticket booking websites such as Damai.com and media outlets such as local and national television stations.
“The Big Data Platform fulfills our vision of sharing our vast data troves that will create immense value to our users,” AliCloud President Simon Hu said in a statement. “The platform is a testament to our ongoing commitment of building an ecosystem that leverages our cloud computing expertise to efficiently and securely serve the needs of our global clients.”
AliCloud is also collaborating with Santa Clara, California-based NVIDIA to boost the capacity for high-performance computing in China. The tie-up follows the launch in December of AliCloud HPC to deliver graphics-processing units to enterprise customers using technologies like facial- and image-recognition in their businesses. As part of that launch, NVIDIA’s Tesla K40 graphics processor was installed in AliCloud’s servers to process larger amounts of data to better serve those customers.
Under the new deal, the two companies said they would develop more applications for clients in sectors such as education, research, government, media, entertainment and medicine. AliCloud and NVIDIA will also establish a research facility dedicated to “deep learning,” the process by which computers learn from data to improve their computation performance, to support emerging companies. Deep learning is an essential part of image-recognition technology as computers teach themselves to process different aspects of a picture for uses such as product search on Taobao Marketplace or user identification, which is currently being developed by Alibaba Group affiliate Alipay.
“Innovative companies in deep learning are one of our most important user communities,” said Zhang Wensong, chief scientist of AliCloud, in a statement. “Together with NVIDIA, AliCloud will use its strength in public cloud computing and experiences accumulated in HPC to offer emerging companies in deep learning with greater support in the future.”