SK Telecom deploys Xilinx FPGAs as its AI accelerators in data center

SK Telecom has deployed Xilinx FPGAs as its artificial intelligence (AI) accelerators in its data center.
Xilinx FPGAs
The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGAs are now running SK Telecom’s speech-recognition (ASR) application to accelerate NUGU, its voice-activated assistant.

SK Telecom, a leading telecom operator in South Korea, has achieved up to five times higher performance in ASR applications when compared to GPUs, and 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.

Xilinx said that the FPGA-based accelerator lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) of ASR application servers by populating existing CPU-only servers with efficient Xilinx FPGA add-in cards.

The ASR servers 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.

“By designing our solution based on Xilinx KCU1500 board and our own bitstream image, we have developed a cost-effective, high-performance application,” said Kang-Won Lee, senior vice president, software research and development center at SKT.

“Xilinx Kintex UltraScale KCU1500 FPGAs show that Xilinx has a major competitive edge in applications. Xilinx will continue to focus its technological capabilities and innovations on data center acceleration,” Manish Muthal, vice president, marketing for data center at Xilinx, said.