.Written by Alex Kirshbaum
The excitement built within me as I turned the corner of building two of the Tel Aviv convention center and saw the Nvidia banners shimmering in the light wind. As I waited for the rest of the team to arrive I could only imagine what would be waiting for us. Upon entering we were met with friendly faces that efficiently checked us in and gave a quick overview of the convention, stearing us in the direction of the main hall which was packed with exhibitions from local Israeli start ups such as Cognata, Deepinstinct and Rail Vision as well as established companies including Gigabyte, IBM and the events main diamond sponsor, Amazon web services. There was so much to see, touch and fully engage in; several VR stations were set up for demonstration. The Nvidia event staff graciously and enthusiastically answered our many questions on the new Tesla desktop computer platform. The call for the Keynote speech came almost too soon.
Entering the hall for the Keynote speech by founder and CEO of Nvidia, Jensen Huang, was a surreal experience. We took our seats and waited in heightened anticipation while a popular, well-recorded mix was played over the PA system. The introduction video began by featuring small clips of Nvidia's Artificial Intelligence in action, in multiple applications from composing the soundtrack of the video to medicine and visual arts. The clip was met with applause, rising in enthusiasm as Jensen Huang was introduced to the stage. With a big 'shalom', he began his Keynote speech.
"Welcome to Nvidia's first GTC in Israel" "This is the nation of start-ups, we have so much incommon, Nvidia is a start-up."
An enthralling speech it was, featuring Huang's humor, his intelligence, and most of all his humanity. The excitement in his voice was vibrant as he began discussing the initiatives introduced by Nvidia over the past few years, with special emphasis on the breakthroughs of 2017, which have paved the way for future tech and hardware with accelerated computing. Their deep learning and AI programs are literally changing the way we interact with computers. GPU computing is here and is here to stay.
New ideas that are becoming reality, even in a virtual reality such as that found in Nvidia's "HOLODECK", allow for virtual collaboration across continents in an environment wherein the laws of physics are obeyed but can also be altered or broken when needed. This was demonstarated by a team of three technicians speaking to Huang in real time from the "HOLODECK", that was transformed into a Laboratory into which they introduced a photo realistic sports car. Through an exploded view of the sports car they revealed the endless possibilities of this virtual reality space by manipulating the features of the car. It was like something out of an Iron Man or Star Trek movie which was no longer fiction, but very much a reality. The "HOLODECK" will be online and avaliable by the end of this month.
In addition, NVIDIA has recently unveiled the "TensorRT 3 AI", which runs a neural network in a production environment. The new software accelerate performance and cuts the cost of deductions from the cloud to end devices, including autonomous cars and robots.
The speed and efficiency offered by "TensorRT 3 AI" combined with Nvidia's processing units can lead to tremendous financial savings. The combination of the "TensorRT 3 AI" and Nvidia's graphics processing units provides the world's fastest decoding capability. In combination with the "Tesla v100", the TensorRT can process 5,700 frames per second, compared to only 140 in today's processing units.
Artificial Intelligence seems to provide an opportunity for unlimited innovataion and application in many fields. In his speech Huang pointed to autonomous vehicles using Nvidia's new "Drive PX" family of automotive systems as an example. This system, codenamed "Pegasus", is designed to allow the beginning of the production of autonomous vehicles at a level 5 capacity. It is a demanding task, as the computing capacity for an autonomous car is at least 50 to 100 times greater than most advanced cars available today. Due to its small size and hugely reduced power consumption, "Pegasus" would revolutionize autonomus transport. Huangs predicts that we will see autonomous taxis by the year 2020.
I was very fortunate, along with assembled journalists, to have the oppurtunity to meet with Jensen Huang after the Keynote. He began with a short summary of his speech and opened the floor to questions.
My questions to Jensan Huang:
Q: The new graphics processor versus VEGA: We asked how their new graphics processor is affected by its rival AMD. A: He claims that TESLA serves a different kind of user who require powerful PERFOMANCE COMPUTING and not just a graphics card.
Q: Could we see in the future the HOLODECK as a gaming platform: the answer was a very enthusatic A: YES! The possibilities for the HOLODECK platform are endless.
Of course what comes after the 1080 was asked! The answer was enfused with a little humor and of course was not a direct answer: we currently have 1070, 1080; Maybe we'll decide on 1090 but we'll have to wait with it for next year.
Nvidia is changing our world. Artificial Intelligence is very much here, and here to stay. The platforms in use have benefits for so many aspects of life. Potential, as far as I can see, is limitless. Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference hosted in Tel Aviv was truly an eye opening and brain boggling event. I personally learnt a great deal about GPU computing potential, witnessed some amazing tech, and got to interact with the founder and CEO of Nvidia himself. Great opportunities are in front of us and Nvidia is leading the way, I can't wait to see what 2018 will bring.