Chipmaker Nvidia unveils more AI products after $249 billion stock rally

SAN FRANCISCO – Nvidia chief executive officer Jensen Huang has unveiled a new batch of products and services tied to artificial intelligence (AI), looking to further capitalise on a frenzy that has made his company the world’s most valuable chipmaker.

The wide-ranging new line-up includes an AI supercomputer platform called DGX GH200, which will help tech companies create successors to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Mr Huang told the audience at the Computex show in Taiwan. Microsoft, Meta Platforms and Alphabet’s Google are expected to be some of the first users of that equipment.

Nvidia is also teaming up with communications giant WPP to use AI and the metaverse to lower the cost of producing advertising. It is releasing a networking offering that is designed to turbocharge the speed of information within data centres. In addition, the company is even looking to change how people interact with video games: A service called Nvidia ACE for Games will use AI to enliven background characters and give them more personality.

The flurry of announcements underscores Nvidia’s shift from a maker of computer graphics chips to a company at the centre of the AI boom. Last week, Mr Huang gave a stunning sales forecast for the current quarter – almost US$4 billion above analysts’ estimates – fuelled by demand for data centre chips that handle AI tasks. This sent the stock rallying US$184 billion (S$249 billion) to a record high and put Nvidia on the brink of a US$1 trillion valuation – a first for the chip industry.

The DGX computer is another attempt to keep data centre operators hooked on Nvidia’s products. Microsoft, Google and their peers are all racing to develop services similar to the ChatGPT chatbot – and that requires plenty of computing horsepower. To satisfy this appetite, Nvidia is both offering equipment for data centres and building its own supercomputers that customers can use. This includes two new supercomputers in Taiwan, the company said.

One of the biggest AI bottlenecks is the speed at which data moves within data centres. Nvidia’s Spectrum X, a networking system that uses technology acquired in the 2020 purchase of Mellanox Technologies, will address that issue. The company is building a data centre in Israel to demonstrate how effective it is.

The WPP partnership, meanwhile, will streamline the creation of advertising content. The British advertising titan will use Nvidia’s Omniverse technology to create “virtual twins” of products that can be manipulated to customise ads and reduce the need for costly reshoots.

Nvidia’s original business was selling graphics cards to gamers, and it is returning to that world with the ACE offering. The service will address the problem of non-player characters, or NPCs, the background figures that populate video games. NPCs typically give repetitive responses with scripted dialogue, and that limited range has made them the subject of ridicule in memes and even the movie Free Guy starring actor Ryan Reynolds.

Nvidia ACE will listen to what the gamer says to a character, convert it into text and then dump that into a generative AI program to create a more natural, off-the-cuff response. The California-based company is currently testing the service and will add guard rails to ensure that responses are not inappropriate or offensive. BLOOMBERG


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