April 14, 2024

Jensen Huang wearing a black leather jacket holding a thumbs up

Photo: Ann Wang (Reuters)

The company behind the most desired hardware in the world is expected to reveal the next generation of its chip this week — at a conference that’s already been dubbed the “Woodstock of AI” by employees and analysts alike.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang is hosting the chipmaker’s annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, California, where he’ll be joined by fellow power players in the AI industry including Brad Lightcap, chief operating officer of OpenAI, and Arthur Mensch, chief executive of Mistral AI.

Huang is expected to announce the next generation of the company’s H100 chip — the B100, which is rumored to be Nvidia’s first multi-die chip, meaning it is a large design partitioned into smaller pieces. If so, the chip is expected to be even more powerful than its predecessor. Microsoft and Meta are the largest customers of the H100 chip, with both tech giants spending $9 billion on the chips in 2023. Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, and Oracle were also top spenders on the chips last year.

But the frenzy over Nvidia’s H100 chips has worried some companies over shortages, and competitors keen to stay ahead in the AI race have started building their own versions of the chips. Amazon has worked on two chips called Inferentia and Tranium, while Google has been working on its Tensor Processing Units.

Despite the worries and competition, Nvidia’s been on a hot streak, becoming the first semiconductor company to reach a $2 trillion valuation in February. The company had seen its stock fall before reporting its fourth-quarter earnings, but rebounded after beating Wall Street’s expectations. The company reported revenues of $22 billion in its fourth quarter — up 270% from the previous year. Nvidia also beat out Amazon and Alphabet to become the U.S.’s third-most valuable company by market cap in February, and bested Saudia Arabia’s Aramco to become the world’s third-most valuable company in March. But Wall Street can’t make up its mind over Nvidia’s success: some characterize the hype as a bubble, and one that will burst soon.

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