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Nvidia unveils new partnerships and AI products, some developed in Israel

Local team sires Quantum-2, ‘most advanced networking platform ever built,’ to offer supercomputer performance

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Startups and Business editor and reporter.

Nvidia's Quantum 2 adapter, developed in Israel. (Nvidia)
Nvidia's Quantum 2 adapter, developed in Israel. (Nvidia)

United States gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia Corp unveiled a range of new products, some developed in Israel, and partnerships on Tuesday at the annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2021, a bi-annual event that brings together developers, engineers, researchers and investors for discussions and workshops on the latest in artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and machine learning.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang presented the technologies at the online conference held by the firm on Tuesday, building on some of the announcements at the previous GTC event held in April.

The US firm, founded in 1993 by Huang, Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem as a graphics chip company, inventing the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), is today a leader in the field of artificial intelligence.

Among the new products unveiled Tuesday was the Nvidia Quantum-2, the next generation of the company’s InfiniBand networking platform developed by its Israeli team.

Nvidia says the platform “offers the extreme performance, broad accessibility and strong security needed by cloud computing providers and supercomputing centers.” Quantum-2 consists of the Nvidia Quantum-2 switch, the ConnectX-7 network adapter, and the BlueField-3 data processing unit, also co-developed in Israel.

“The requirements of today’s supercomputing centers and public clouds are converging,” said Gilad Shainer, Nvidia’s senior vice president of high-performance computing. “They must provide the greatest performance possible for next-generation HPC [high-performance computing], AI and data analytics challenges, while also securely isolating workloads and responding to varying demands of user traffic. This vision of the modern data center is now real with Nvidia Quantum-2 InfiniBand.”

Huang said Quantum-2 was “the most advanced networking platform ever built,” and the first “to offer the performance of a supercomputer and the shareability of cloud computing.”

Nvidia also announced the expansion of its new platform, Omniverse, which allows teams designing 3D products to work together from different locations around the world.

New capabilities will include Omniverse Avatar, a technology platform that connects Nvidia technologies in speech AI, computer vision, natural language understanding, recommendation engines and simulation technologies to generate interactive AI avatars, and Omniverse Replicator, an engine that generates synthetic data for training deep neural networks.

“A constant theme you’ll see — how Omniverse is used to simulate digital twins of warehouses, plants and factories, of physical and biological systems, the 5G edge, robots, self-driving cars,
and even avatars,” Huang said in his keynote address.

A “digital twin” is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object or environment.

Huang further said Nvidia will build a digital twin to simulate and predict climate change.

In addition, the US company said it was partnering with Lockheed Martin to help fight wildfires with AI, using Nvidia’s Omniverse advanced visualization and virtual world simulation platform to process a fire’s magnitude and forecast its progress.

“By recreating the fire in a physically accurate digital twin, the system will be able to suggest actions to best suppress the blaze,” the company said.

Another Nvidia partnership is with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson which will tap into the Omniverse to build digital twins for 5G networks and improve features and services.

Nvidia completed the acquisition of Israel’s Mellanox Technologies in a massive $7 billion deal last year, announcing in March that it would hire some 600 hardware and software engineers and chip designers at a variety of levels in Israel to work on its AI-based technologies.

Since its acquisition of Mellanox, a maker of high-speed servers and storage switching solutions used in supercomputers globally, the firm employs over 2,400 workers in Israel in seven R&D centers, from Yokneam, the HQ of Mellanox, to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ra’anana, and Beersheba in the south.

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.

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