The GPU Technology Conference (GTC), sponsored and organized by NVIDIA, is now in it's 8th year. The conference is technology-focused with an emphasis on our graphics processing is both driving computer innovation and solving computer-related problems at the same time.
This year, the GTC is primarily focused on three areas of GPU technology:autonomous cars, deep learning and virtual reality (VR). All three areas have been intensely developed by NVIDIA and other companies, but have only recently become a part of public conversation and media coverage, thus heightening the popularity and importance of this year's conference.
Tuesday, April 5
Today is the big "Keynote Address" day given by NVIDIA co-founder and CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang. Lots of security and excitement building up to the event. 200+ press in impressive rows in front of the stage. A massive projection screen with gorgeous abstract animation and contemporary progressive rock over the speakers. The Keynote had the feel of a rock music concert complete with driving rock intro for Mr. Huang's entrance.
Two hours later 5,000 (double the amount of only a few years ago) left the vent jazzed and inspired by Mr Huang's impressive announcements and insightful comments about the most important issues in graphics processing: Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. One begins to see why this powerful man is the head of one of the most important tech companies in the world: he's strong, decisive, intelligent and willing to take risks.
In short, the Keynote address was wonderful and, in my opinion, is the real center of gravity for the GTC conference. After Mr. Huang's announcements, the rest of the convention is a form of response to the ideas represented in the Keynote.
Keynote Address by NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang
Way too much to cover in this short recap, but essentially Mr. Huang announced five new NVIDIA technologies:
NVIDIA SDK - a major software update that "takes advantage of NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture and makes it easier than ever for developers to create great solutions on our platforms."
NVIDIA Iray VR and Iray VR Lite - This new application takes NVIDIA's remarkable photo-realistic renderer and applies it to Virtual Reality. VR Lite is designed for users who don't have a supercomputer, but want to use the Iray renderer in less expensive VR technology like the Google cardboard VR + android phone.
NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPU - "The most advanced hyperscale datacenter GPU ever built"
NVIDIA DGX-1 - "The world's first supercomputer in a box". This amazing computer is designed specifically for deep learning data crunching and artificial intelligence research.
- Drive PX - "The world's first AI computer platform powered by Deep Learning." In tandem with this news came an the announcement of another first - an autonomous race car. Roborace will be a special speed race using Drive PX to power 20 identical autonomous race cars.
The theme behind these announcements, if you haven't guessed, is that NVIDIA is "all in" to support Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The reason being that both technologies demand massive graphics processing for which NVIDIA is a leader and innovator. NVIDIA is playing a long game and I think it's brilliant.
"Artificial intelligence is the most far-reaching technological advancement in our lifetime," Jen-Hsun told the audience. "It changes every industry, every company, everything. It will open up markets to benefit everyone."
Sessions and the Exhibit Hall
Much of the rest of Tuesday was anticlimatic, but interesting nevertheless. I attended several sessions, one on the state of VR (very interesting and well-presented by David Luebke despite technical problems) and another on Autonomous Drones presented by the very smart Dor Abuhasira.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the Lenovo booth going over their newest technology like the three VR-Ready, NVIDIA-certified computers, the P910, P710, and P510. Expensive, but amazingly powerful (and beautifully designed). Lots more interesting tech at the booth, but I'll cover it in a future article. For now, check the main Lenovo site for more details.
While at the Lenovo booth, I met up with Jimmu Giliberti of Worldviz, a company showing it's VR applications on Lenovo hardware. I didn't get a chance to demo them yet, but tomorrow will be my big VR day. I was impressed with the ideas coming from Worldviz and look forward to learning more.
The lines were far too long at NVIDIA's VR Village where all of the major VR hardware is being demoed. This reporter was much too tired to wait in line. Tomorrow will be the big day for VR.
I meet up with the NVIDIA team to talk about what Renderosity and Renderosity Magazine can do to bring more NVIDIA news, reviews and articles in the future.