Intel Vice President of Strategy Innovation and Planning of Programmable Solutions Group Vincent Hu said Saturday that he is very much impressed about artificial intelligence (AI) research in China in recent years.
China was investing heavily in AI, and the United States and China were probably the two leading countries in such research, Hu told Xinhua in an interview during the 2018 Spring Symposium on AI and semiconductor fusion, sponsored by Chinese American Semiconductor Professional Association (CASPA) in Cupertino, south of San Francisco in the U.S. state of California.
The annual CASPA symposium intends to go deeper on the theme of AI that has seen resurgence in recent years fueled by the advance in computational power, algorithms and large amount of data, which are propelled by the semiconductor chip technology.
"I think one of the assets that China has is a very strong university program. And that is where most of the research in AI and machine learning is occurring today, which has been led by universities, just like in the United States," he said.
Citing the research in quantum computing right now in China, he said, "I think that's where I've been impressed about what the Chinese universities are doing out there."
China has many very creative and imaginative people, and Intel always hires talents from many countries, including a lot of Chinese nationals, because there are very large facilities at Intel in Shanghai and Shenzhen in southern China, he added.
He said Intel has invested heavily in building the semiconductor infrastructure in China.
"We put in somewhere around 3 billion (U.S.) dollars of investment in building a new memory factory in China," he said.
Collaboration like that with the industry is going to help speed up the advancement of the semiconductor industry, he suggested.
Hu, who is responsible for the programmable solutions arm at Intel, said the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) will be a key enabler of AI because "we provide flexibility to AI developers to deploy quickly."
"But the flexibility also allows them to modify their solutions as they learn more about the problems they're trying to solve for particular customer," he added.
The FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing -- hence "field-programmable".
"Because we can support arbitrary dataset types, data precision and dataset sizes, we are very good for future proof in your implementation. I think the FPGA can be a key enabler for AI applications today for many companies ad applications," Hu said.