High-profile universities and state-run research institutes in China have been relying on a U.S. computing chip to power their artificial intelligence (AI) technology but whose export to the country Washington has now restricted, a Reuters review showed. From the report: U.S. chip designer Nvidia last week said U.S. government officials have ordered it to stop exporting its A100 and H100 chips to China. Local peer Advanced Micro Devices also said new licence requirements now prevent export to China of its advanced AI chip MI250. The development signalled a major escalation of a U.S. campaign to stymie China’s technological capability as tension bubbles over the fate of Taiwan, where chips for Nvidia and almost every other major chip firm are manufactured.
China views Taiwan as a rogue province and has not ruled out force to bring the democratically governed island under its control. Responding to the restrictions, China branded them a futile attempt to impose a technology blockade on a rival. A Reuters review of more than a dozen publicly available government tenders over the past two years indicated that among some of China’s most strategically important research institutes, there is high demand – and need – for Nvidia’s signature A100 chips. Tsinghua University, China’s highest-ranked higher education institution globally, spent over $400,000 last October on two Nvidia AI supercomputers, each powered by four A100 chips, one of the tenders showed. In the same month, the Institute of Computing Technology, part of top research group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), spent around $250,000 on A100 chips. The school of artificial intelligence at a CAS university in July this year also spent about $200,000 on high-tech equipment including a server partly powered by A100 chips. In November, the cybersecurity college of Guangdong-based Jinan University spent over $93,000 on an Nvidia AI supercomputer, while its school of intelligent systems science and engineering spent almost $100,000 on eight A100 chips just last month. Less well-known institutes and universities supported by municipal and provincial governments, such as in Shandong, Henan and Chongqing, also bought A100 chips, the tenders showed.
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