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Nvidia valued at $1 trillion, what does this mean for AI and data centre industries?

Written by Wed 14 Jun 2023

As Nvidia became the first chip manufacturer to reach a $1 trillion valuation earlier this month, the future of AI and the data centre industry is on everyone’s mind. This milestone resulted from a 25% surge on the heels of an optimistic Q2 2023 forecast.

The forecast notably included a sales estimate of $11 billion – a full $4 billion above analyst expectations – due to rising demand for AI-driven servers.

In the last quarter alone, Nvidia also reaped $4.3 billion from its data centre division, an 18% increase from the previous quarter. A significant part of this growth comes from the success of Nvidia’s flagship A100 GPU for AI, which is sold for $10,000 per chip and is the go-to hardware for Microsoft in training OpenAI’s models.

After this figure was announced, Nvidia added $300 billion to its market capitalisation in a single day, reaching the $1 trillion mark. Nvidia is only the fifth US-based company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, joining the ranks of tech behemoths Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.

The chip manufacturer’s stock also skyrocketed by more than 162% over the last year, driven by favorable market conditions and the company’s consistent performance.

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, credits the increased sales projections to two simultaneous transitions: accelerated computing and generative AI.

According to Huang, this shift implies that a trillion dollars of the installed global data centre infrastructure will eventually transition from general-purpose to accelerated computing, as companies race to apply generative AI into every product, service, and business process.

Nvidia also plans to launch a successor to its AI100, called H100. The company is also introducing a cloud-based AI supercomputer platform that enables businesses to access their high-performance DGX AI supercomputers.

But competition is heating up, as AMD is gearing up to challenge Nvidia’s supremacy, unveiling its upcoming line of AI processors designed to cater to the increasing AI traffic in data centres. Their Instinct MI300 series features the MI300X, an accelerator tailored for generative AI technologies like ChatGPT.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s leading cloud computing provider, is exploring the possibility of using AMD’s new AI chips. An AWS executive, speaking to Reuters, confirmed the consideration but clarified that a final decision is yet to be made.

This move could signal a potential shift in the data centre industry, raising the stakes for Nvidia and shaping the future of AI-powered data centres.

What does this mean for the AI and data centre industries?

The market interpretation of Nvidia’s trillion-dollar valuation is a mixed bag. While many celebrate the triumph of AI technologies, the rising demand for this technology could lead to complete data centre overhauls. Instead, data centre operators might benefit from more incremental changes to mitigate disruption and enable measurable ROI assessment.

Bradley Shimmin, AI industry analyst at Omida, acknowledged the exploding AI ecosystem but points out that businesses may be more interested in cutting costs and accelerating time-to-market with advanced AI hardware acceleration rather than complete server replacement.

Simultaneously, there’s a parallel trend of achieving more with less in the AI sector, with researchers devising ways to use models with fewer parameters, highly curated data sets, and smarter training techniques such as PEFT and LoRa. This approach may dictate how data centres adopt AI, emphasising efficiency and optimisation over total overhaul.

Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, echoes the cautious sentiment. He advised the AI community to avoid overestimating the impact of AI.

“I do think the AI community is making a terrible mistake by being full of hype on the near-term implications of generative AI,” said Griffin.

Nvidia’s record valuation is undoubtedly a testament to the importance of AI in shaping the future of the tech industry. But it is clear that the path to fully AI-integrated data centres is not a straightforward one. While some data centres may rapidly adopt AI technologies, others might prefer a slower, more incremental approach.

In this dynamic landscape, Nvidia’s valuation marks a significant milestone in the journey of AI technology from the realms of scientific research to the heart of global business infrastructure. The challenge now lies in translating this value into sustainable growth for both AI and the data centre industry.

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Written by Wed 14 Jun 2023

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