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Graphics: AI-Alerts

Chip Hall of Fame: Nvidia NV20

IEEE Spectrum

Many researchers have co-opted powerful graphics processing units, or GPUs, to run climate models and other scientific programs, while tech and financial giants use large banks of these processors to train machine-learning algorithms. They all have video-game players to thank for the emergence of these workhorse processors: It was gamers who stoked the original demand for chips that could do the massive amounts of parallel number crunching required to produce rich graphics quickly enough to keep up with fast-paced action. By 1995, movies like Pixar's Toy Story, the first full-length digitally animated movie, had demonstrated the potential of high-quality computer animation. But gamers drove the technology in a very specific direction. Pixar had created Toy Story's graphics by slowly rendering each frame individually and then stitching it all together.