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Alibaba Cloud Harnesses AI and Data Analytics Expertise to Advance China's Innovations in Urban Governance and Astronomy

October 13, 2016

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced today at its Computing Conference that it will provide its artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning and data analytics capabilities to two new cutting-edge developments in China, demonstrating its role as a leading driver of the country's technological advancements.

Alibaba Cloud's AI and deep learning technologies to support the "Hangzhou City Brain" Master Plan

Initiated by the Hangzhou government, the "Hangzhou City Brain" is set to address the city's urban living challenges. As the hub to consolidate data and provide real-time analysis, the "Hangzhou City Brain" will rely on Alibaba Cloud's AI program "ET" and big data analytics capabilities to perform real-time traffic prediction with its video and image recognition technologies. The "Hangzhou City Brain" will support transportation departments' efforts to ease traffic congestion and provide users with real-time traffic recommendations and travel routes.

"By establishing the Hangzhou City Brain, Hangzhou is taking the lead in harnessing artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies to promote greater sustainability and improve the quality of urban living for Chinese citizens. Alibaba Cloud is proud to support and be part of this important development, "said Dr Jian Wang, Chairman of Alibaba Group Technology Steering Committee.

With automated traffic system capabilities, intelligent adjustments of traffic lights will be performed on the spot; when a vehicle changes direction, the green light will automatically be extended. The pilot of world's most advanced smart traffic management system in the Hangzhou's Xiaoshan District, which started in September this year, has since seen an increase in traffic speed by 11%.

The project is being led by the Hangzhou government in coordination with 13 firms including Alibaba Cloud. As part of the project, a research and development team of scientists from various companies has been formed.

Forming the backbone of the "Hangzhou City Brain" data processing and analysis capabilities is Apsara, Alibaba Cloud's large scale computing operating system, which is able to cluster millions of servers into a super computer and to support a multitude of cloud-based services by analyzing terabytes of data points. This computational engine is one of the largest of its kind in the world and uses propriety algorithms.

Alibaba Cloud's technologies pave the way for astronomical data storage and analytics

Aiming to leverage its technologies for astronomical data collection and analysis, Alibaba Cloud also announced at the Computing Conference its research collaboration with the National Astronomical Observatory of China (NAOC) on deep space exploration. The plans are to set up a data and research centre for astronomy, as well as a virtual solar observatory which will be supported by Apsara's massive scalability and advanced capabilities to process astronomical data.

China aims to be placed as the global leader in deep space radio telescope research and has taken the lead in astronomical data storage and collection. Operating since 2010, the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fibre Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), also known as Guo Shoujing Telescope, is one of the largest astronomical spectroscopy base, and has collected over 5 million astronomical spectroscopies. Few years later, Beijing launched China's second space station, the 500 meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), which is capable of generating 50TB (1TB=1000GB) data every day.