2020 thus far has been a year of acute disruption. Aside from the global events, the next wave in disruption is coming in the form of a disrupted economy. Those periods of disruption are also times for technological disruption. Hopefully, NVIDIA will launch something on its May 14 GTC 2020 keynote that will disrupt the industry’s AI and deep learning capabilities.
NVIDIA GTC 2020 Keynote Set for May 14
The NVIDIA GTC 2020 Keynote will be streamed live on May 14. The company simply said that Jensen Huang’s keynote “will highlight the company’s latest innovations in AI, high performance computing, data science, autonomous machines, healthcare and graphics during the recorded keynote.” (Source: NVIDIA PR) That is not specific in terms of exactly what will be announced. Indeed, it sounds just like every keynote even if there are no new product announcements.
Possibilities for Announcement
Recently, we reviewed the Inspur NF5488M5 which is an 8x Tesla V100 server with NVSwitch topology. That server is stated to support “Volta-Next” GPUs which we know are coming, but do not have a firm release date. Today’s data center “Volta” architecture was launched in 2017 and spans a wide gamut of power and performance profiles all under the general model name of “Tesla V100.”
Three years later and HPE-Cray and AMD have won two of the three first Exaflop supercomputers with AMD EPYC CPUs and AMD GPUs. HPE-Cray is leveraging next-gen Intel CPUs and the coming Intel Xe HPC GPU won the third contract. Intel acquired Habana Labs in a fairly clear sign that Facebook will focus on Habana Labs. We even have upstarts such as Cerebras Systems that have completely different architectures for AI markets.
What all of these competitive systems have today is that they measure competition by the Tesla V100. NVIDIA releasing a next-gen Tesla part for AI and/or HPC will reset the industry’s go-to yardstick.
The company also recently won approval from Chinese regulators to acquire Mellanox. That paves the way to that deal finally closing. We covered some of the potential impacts when the deal was announced more than a year ago in NVIDIA to Acquire Mellanox a Potential Prelude to Servers.
Beyond the data center, NVIDIA is long rumored to announce a vastly different RTX 3000 series. Using process advancements NVIDIA has the opportunity to further bring AI inference acceleration to the desktop. That will help both the next-generation of desktop AI machines as well as NVIDIA’s efforts to bring real-time ray tracing to mainstream acceptance.
Overall, this is going to be one to watch. GTC 2020 is NVIDIA’s premiere event. It has been years since NVIDIA has entered a GTC with such aging product lines. With Computex being pushed to a later and smaller show, this is effectively NVIDIA’s last first half of 2020 launch window for updated GPUs.