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article imageNVIDIA hands out free Volta graphics cards to top AI researchers

By James Walker     Jul 26, 2017 in Technology
NVIDIA has taken the unusual step of giving away 15 of its brand-new datacentre-grade Tesla V100 graphics cards. The highly advanced accelerators were handed out by company CEO Jensen Huang to representatives of 15 top AI research institutes.
NVIDIA's new Tesla V100 is the "most advanced data centre GPU ever built." The card is designed to deliver breakthrough innovations in machine learning, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing. NVIDIA claims it's as powerful as up to 100 regular processors combined.
NVIDIA is known for its unique marketing promotions but this week it went a step further than usual. Huang presented 15 of the very first Tesla V100 cards to representatives of AI institutions in NVIDIA's AI Labs program. Over 150 people were in the room when Huang made the announcement.
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The price of the card isn't publicly available. However, NVIDIA announced a "personal AI supercomputer" earlier this year that contains four Tesla V100 chips and costs $70,000. The company's decision to give the cards away for free to researchers is part of its ongoing effort to push the boundaries of what's possible with technology.
NVIDIA Tesla V100
NVIDIA Tesla V100
NVIDIA
Speaking at the event, Huang expressed his conviction that AI will be the greatest technological revolution to date. NVIDIA's graphics cards are behind many of the most powerful AI systems. The V100 card takes this to the next level, offering over 21 billion transistors, 100 teraflops of raw computing power and 640 Tensor cores.
"AI is the most powerful technology force that we have ever known," Huang said. "I've seen everything. I've seen the coming and going of the client-server revolution. I've seen the coming and going of the PC revolution. Absolutely nothing compares."
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Giving the Tesla V100 away for free is just the latest in a long line of NVIDIA efforts to engage with its most enthusiastic audience. By partnering with researchers, it is able to get its products into the next generation of AI-driven services. It can also claim its position as one of the most important suppliers of AI hardware.
NVIDIA is currently the market leader in high-end and professional GPU manufacturing. Its primary rival AMD has been struggling to develop competitive products for years. While AMD is expected to return to form with its upcoming Vega architecture, it's NVIDIA hardware that's powering today's self-driving cars from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and others.
All of the cards that NVIDIA gave away were personally signed by Huang with a box inscription that read "Do great AI!" Students at the institutes who received the graphics accelerators will now be able to develop their research at much higher speeds, improving productivity and enabling further AI breakthroughs.
More about Nvidia, graphics cards, Ai, Hardware, Artificial intelligence