Nvidia chief Jensen Huang says AI is creating a ‘new computing era’
Nvidia’s chief executive hailed a new era of computing in which “everyone is a programmer”, as the world’s most valuable semiconductor group unveiled a new supercomputer platform to stay at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution.
Jensen Huang warned in a speech in Taiwan that the traditional tech industry would not keep pace with AI’s advances, adding that the technology had dramatically lowered the barrier to entry to computer coding.
“We have reached the tipping point of a new computing era,” Huang said on Monday, arguing that AI now enabled individuals to create programmes simply by plugging in commands.
“Everyone is a programmer now. You just have to say something to the computer,” he added, describing the combination of accelerated computing and generative AI as “a reinvention from the ground up”.
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ChatGPT can generate code, cutting the human labour required to create software, a development set to revolutionise programming.
Huang’s speech to the Computex conference in Taipei came days after Nvidia revealed forecasts of rapid sales growth, fuelling a share price surge that put it on course to become the world’s first trillion-dollar semiconductor stock.
The chipmaker’s share price has risen 172 per cent since the start of the year as the explosion of Open AI’s ChatGPT awakened investor enthusiasm for generative AI.
Demand has soared for Nvidia’s data centre chips, including the H100, an advanced graphics processor unit (GPU) that substantially cuts the time required to train so-called large language models such as ChatGPT.
The vast amount of open-source software available online has also provided a fertile training ground for code-generating AI systems. OpenAI’s Codex system, trained partly on open-source software, gives software developers prompts with suggestions of which lines of code to write next.
GitHub, a Microsoft service for developers, which harnesses Codex, said the platform had halved the time it took to create new code, a huge leap in efficiency after a decade of largely ineffective efforts to bolster productivity.
Huang also announced a new AI supercomputer platform called DGX GH200 to assist tech companies in building generative AI models akin to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Meta, Microsoft and Google Cloud are among the first clients expected to access the supercomputer.
Taiwan-born Huang unveiled a new powerful GPU for gaming and an AI platform for developers to create games with online avatars that mimic players’ behaviours.
“This is the future of video games. AI will contribute to the rendering and synthesis of the environment, but it will also animate the characters,” he said.
Nvidia also announced a tie-up with Japan’s SoftBank to bring its super chip to the tech group’s data centres in the country, as it seeks to embed data centre operators’ reliance on its products.
Nvidia’s success in developing products to power advancements in AI has put it in the crosshairs of US export controls designed to curb Chinese technological progress.
Washington banned shipments of the A100 chip — the predecessor to the H100 — to China last October as it widened trade restrictions from specific blacklisted companies.
The Financial Times reported that Chinese AI companies under sanctions had continued to access A100 chips through third-party data centres, underscoring the challenge of curtailing trade of critical components.
Huang was born in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan before eventually moving to the US, where he co-founded Nvidia in 1993 after working as a microprocessor designer at Advanced Micro Devices.
Additional reporting by Madhumita Murgia