US tech giant Nvidia unveils latest artificial intelligence chip

March 19, 2024
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell before a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council in Brussels
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell before a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council in Brussels

WASHINGTON — Nvidia has unveiled its latest artificial intelligence (AI) chip which it says can do some tasks 30 times faster than its predecessor.

The firm has an 80% market share and hopes to cement its dominance.

In addition to the B200 "Blackwell" chip, its chief executive Jensen Huang detailed a new set of software tools at its annual developer conference.

Nvidia is the third-most valuable company in the US, behind only Microsoft and Apple.

Its shares have surged 240% over the past year and its market value touched $2tn (£1.57tn) last month.

As Huang kicked off the conference, he jokingly said, "I hope you realise this is not a concert."

But Bob O'Donnell from Technalysis Research who was at the event told the BBC that "the buzz was in the air".

"I haven't seen something like this in the tech industry in quite some time," he said.

"In fact, some people were making analogies to the early days of Steve Jobs types of presentations."

Nvidia said major customers including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and OpenAI are expected to use the firm's new flagship chip in cloud-computing services and for their own AI offerings.

It also said the new software tools, called microservices, improve system efficiency to make it easier for a business to incorporate an AI model into its work.

Other announcements include a new line of chips for cars which can run chatbots inside the vehicle. The company said Chinese electric vehicle makers BYD and Xpeng would both use its new chips.

Huang also outlined a new series of chips for creating humanoid robots, inviting several of the robots to join him on the stage.

Founded in 1993, Nvidia was originally known for making the type of computer chips that process graphics, particularly for computer games.

Long before the AI revolution, it started adding features to its chips that it says help machine learning, investments that have helped it gain market share.

It is now seen as a key company to watch to see how fast AI-powered tech is spreading across the business world.

But competition is heating up from rivals such as AMD and Intel.

O'Donnell said the market was growing so quickly that "even if Nvidia loses some share, they can still grow their overall business because there's just a lot of opportunities for everybody". — BBC

March 19, 2024
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