Nvidia may be benefiting from what one analysts describes as a "tectonic shift" in computing and it shows: Every unit of the graphics processor's business is performing well. The company's fiscal first quarter results were strong and handily topped Wall Street expectations. Nvidia has been riding a strong data center wave as companies upgrade their GPUs for artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company's core gaming business is doing well due to a shortage of supply, higher prices and new releases such as Fortnite. And Nvidia is even benefiting from the trendiest of tech trends: Cryptocurrency.
The first major event at Computex Taipei 2017 was the Powering The AI Revolution keynote by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang. Although the keynote was heavy on artificial intelligence technologies like NVIDIA Isaac and NVIDIA Volta, Jensen also announced other technologies like GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design. In this 90 minute long keynote, Jensen reveals the future of artificial intelligence and robotics. In that vision, the GPU is taking over from the CPU in delivering the petaflops of computing power required to deliver artificial intelligence. He reveals the new NVIDIA technologies that will power the next-generation AI applications – the new NVIDIA Tesla V100, which is the largest GPU ever made, and the NVIDIA HGX server that hosts eight of these GPUs to deliver almost 1 petaflops of compute performance in a single chassis!
NVIDIA is sitting pretty in AI (artificial intelligence) right now. For the next few years, most AI systems will continue to be trained on NVIDIA GPUs and specialized hardware and cloud services that incorporate these processors. However, NVIDIA has been frustrated in its attempts to become a dominant provider of AI chips for deployment into smartphones, embedded systems, and other edge devices. To address that strategic gap, NVIDIA this past week announced that it is acquiring processor architecture firm Arm Holdings from SoftBank Group and the SoftBank Vision Fund. Once the acquisition closes in the expected 18 months, NVIDIA will retain Arm's name, brand identity, management team, and base of operations in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
NVIDIA today launched a partner program with the world's leading original design manufacturers (ODM) -- Foxconn, Inventec, Quanta and Wistron -- to more rapidly meet the demands for AI cloud computing. Through the NVIDIA HGX Partner Program, NVIDIA is providing each ODM with early access to the NVIDIA HGX reference architecture, NVIDIA GPU computing technologies and design guidelines. HGX is the same data center design used in Microsoft's Project Olympus initiative, Facebook's Big Basin systems and NVIDIA DGX-1 AI supercomputers. Using HGX as a starter "recipe," ODM partners can work with NVIDIA to more quickly design and bring to market a wide range of qualified GPU-accelerated systems for hyperscale data centers. Through the program, NVIDIA engineers will work closely with ODMs to help minimize the amount of time from design win to production deployments.
While NVIDIA's SoC efforts haven't gone entirely to plan since the company first started on them over a decade ago, NVIDIA has been able to find a niche that works in the automotive field. Backing the company's powerful DRIVE hardware, these SoCs have become increasingly specialized as the DRIVE platform itself evolves to meet the needs of the slowly maturing market for the brains behind self-driving cars. And now, NVIDIA's family of automotive SoCs is growing once again, with the formal unveiling of the Orin SoC. First outlined as part of NVIDIA's DRIVE roadmap at GTC 2018, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang took the stage at GTC China this morning to properly introduce the chip that will be powering the next generation of the DRIVE platform. Officially dubbed the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin, the new chip will eventually succeed NVIDIA's currently shipping Xavier SoC, which has been available for about the last year now.