US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia, which completed the acquisition of Israel’s Mellanox Technologies Ltd. last year for a massive $7 billion, said it will be employing some 600 hardware and software engineers and chip designers at a variety of levels in Israel to work on its AI-based technologies.
The US firm, founded in 1993 by Jensen 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.
Since its acquisition of Mellanox, a maker of high-speed servers and storage switching solutions used in supercomputers globally, the firm now 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 Beer Sheva in the south.
Its R&D activities in Israel are the largest by the firm outside of the US.
Gideon Rosenberg, the head of HR at Nvidia Israel, said the firm continues to grow around the world. “We will be happy to recruit workers who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus crisis or those who are looking for their next big challenge,” he said in a statement. “In the past year not only have we not furloughed or fired any workers, because of corona crisis, but we have continued to recruit hundreds of workers.”
Nvidia, with a market cap of $318 billion on the Nasdaq compared to $264 billion for competitor Intel Corp., has replaced the latter as the largest US chip maker, and the second largest in the world, after Taiwan’s TSMC.
Both Nvidia and Intel have R&D centers in Israel and compete for the same pool of talent. This competition is set to become even stiffer, as Google enters the fray. The US search engine giant said earlier this month that it is setting up a chip-making team led by a former Intel Israel executive.
Nvidia has been active in Israel for the past decade, both selling its processors locally, buying stakes in startups like Zebra Medical, Deep Instinct, and Rocketrick, and setting up its R&D units.
In 2016, the US firm set up its first R&D center in Israel and in 2018 set up a center dedicated to artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies, led by Prof. Gal Chechik, a former senior official at Google’s AI division, which focuses on human-machine interaction.