How Alibaba used AI and machine learning to power Global Shopping Festival

Alibaba and technologyAlibaba Group has invested in innovations in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cloud computing to power this year’s Global Shopping Festival.

The China-based e-commerce major that competes with Amazon, eBay, among others, said its investment in IT innovation has assisted Alibaba to manage the spike of up to 325,000 orders per second at peak, coming through this 24-hour stress test.

“This year we fully adopted cloud management and leveraged artificial intelligence on a much larger scale in our infrastructure and systems, resulting in greater operation efficiency while largely reducing IT costs,” said Jeff Zhang, chief technology officer of Alibaba Group.

Alibaba Group also offered innovative technology solutions to enable its partners in areas including product assortment, inventory management, payments and logistics to meet the spike in demand during the Global Shopping Festival.

Alibaba’s self-developed virtual customer service chatbot handled 95 percent of customer service inquiries during the Global Shopping Festival.

Alibaba’s AI-based marketing design platform generated more than 400 million customized online banner ads for merchants.

Alibaba developed over 60 billion personalized pages on the Taobao and Tmall Apps for consumers and populated with AI-based product recommendations.

Alibaba Group leveraged data technologies in a number of ways to develop its robust infrastructure in a cost-effective manner to support the unprecedented volume of computing tasks for browsing, ordering, payments and logistics arrangements securely.

Alibaba Group has developed its own colocation technology. By colocating online services and analytics workloads, the daily average usage of CPU utilization has been increased to above 40 percent with peak utilization over 60 percent. The unitization rate went even higher during the Global Shopping Festival, reducing the cost of collocated clusters compared to last year by more than 30 percent.

Alibaba Group developed an intelligent engine to automatically allocate computation resources in a timely manner in order to achieve optimal system usage and stability. The engine is estimated to cut down the number of servers required by approximately 30 percent during Global Shopping Festival in 2017.

Alibaba Group conducted autonomous end-to-end load testing multiple times to prepare for the predicted load increases at the peak traffic spikes on November 11. This intelligent, autonomous technology saved around 1,000 man-days worth of engineering work this year in comparison to previous years.

Alibaba Group developed a patrol robot for the first time to undertake round-the-clock monitoring of conditions within Alibaba Cloud’s North China data center during the Global Shopping Festival. It is estimated that the robot removed up to 30 percent of the repetitive operations tasks related to data center monitoring.

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, deployed over 1,200 content delivery network (CDN) nodes on its expanding global cloud infrastructure to support the explosive amount of content on the Tmall and Taobao platforms.

The e-commerce giant used data centers in 15 locations worldwide to distribute images, video and live streaming to multiple locations around the world without system bottlenecks.

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