Xilinx FPGAs deployed for AI acceleration

Xilinx announced that SKT has deployed Xilinx FPGAs as their artificial intelligence accelerators in its data center. The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGAs are now running SKT’s automatic speech-recognition application to accelerate NUGU, its voice-activated assistant. SKT achieved up to five times higher performance in ASR applications when compared to GPUs, and more importantly, 16 times better performance-per-watt. This is the first commercial adoption of FPGA accelerators in the AI domain for large-scale data centers in South Korea.

The FPGA-based accelerator lowers the total cost of ownership of ASR application servers by populating existing CPU-only servers with efficient Xilinx FPGA add-in cards. The ASR servers easily and simply accelerate multiple voice service channels with Xilinx FPGA cards in their empty slots. One FPGA card provides more than five times the performance of a single server, resulting in substantial cost savings. This performance and TCO advantage benefits SK Telecom and its customers.

The adaptive nature of Xilinx FPGAs enables fast deployment of custom hardware accelerators for the rapidly evolving field of AI and deep learning. Moreover, FPGAs provide higher performance and lower latency at lower power when compared to CPUs and GPUs. SK Telecom joins a fast-growing list of high-profile commercial data centers that have deployed FPGAs for compute acceleration.

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