Chinese internet search and cloud company Baidu rallied in premarket trade on Wednesday after it detailed a partnership with Santa Clara-based chipmaker NVIDIA to expand investments in artificial intelligence across its cloud and self-driving vehicle initiatives.
According to Baidu president and COO Qi Lu, who spoke at Baidu’s AI developer conference in Beijing on Wednesday, one of the ways it will work with NVIDIA is by bringing its next-generation Volta GPUs to Baidu Cloud.
Baidu will deploy NVIDIA HGX architecture with Tesla Volta V100 and Tesla P4 GPU accelerators for AI training and inference in its data centers, according to the announcement.
NVIDIA is betting on a future where the majority of workloads in data centers will be deep learning, and is helping cloud providers like Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent in China, and in the U.S. with Google and Microsoft.
Though NVIDIA still makes most of its money from selling graphics chips for video games, it has emerged as the leading provider of processing power for AI software, according to MIT Technology Review, which recently named the company the smartest company, ahead of Amazon and Alphabet, which ranked #3 and #5 out of 50, respectively.
Researchers and companies will be able to leverage Baidu’s PaddlePaddle deep learning framework with NVIDIA’s TensorRT deep learning inference software to develop services with real-time understanding of images, speech, text and video, Baidu said in a statement. PaddlePaddle is used to develop Baidu search rankings, image classification services, real-time speech understanding, visual character recognition, and other AI-powered services.
"NVIDIA and Baidu have pioneered significant advances in deep learning and AI," Ian Buck, NVIDIA vice president and general manager of accelerated computing said in a statement. "We believe AI is the most powerful technology force of our time, with the potential to revolutionize every industry. Our collaboration aligns our exceptional technical resources to create AI computing platforms for all developers -- from academic research, startups creating breakthrough AI applications, and autonomous vehicles."
On the autonomous vehicle project, Baidu will adopt NVIDIA’s DRIVE PX platform for its self-driving car initiative, with plans to develop self-driving cars through partnerships with major Chinese carmakers including Changan, Chery Automobile, FAW, and Greatwall Motor. NVIDIA and Baidu will work together on Baidu’s self-driving car initiative known as Apollo, an open platform for self-driving cars, which leverages NVIDIA technology.
On the consumer end of things, Baidu plans to bring AI capabilities to NVIDIA SHIELD TV with its DuerOS conversational AI system, adding voice command capabilities.
"Today, we are very excited to announce a comprehensive and deep partnership with NVIDIA," Lu said at the event. "Baidu and NVIDIA will work together on our Apollo self-driving car platform, using NVIDIA's automotive technology. We'll also work closely to make PaddlePaddle the best deep learning framework; advance our conversational AI system, DuerOS; and accelerate research at the Institute of Deep Learning."
Earlier this year, NVIDIA partnered with four Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giants who will design and manufacture its latest AI servers for data centers operated by cloud providers.