Nvidia’s AI unit poised for big growth in 2017

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Nvidia Corp. has experienced a boom in earnings recently, boasting a record revenue climb in its latest quarter.

The California-based technology company stated earlier this month that its revenue from the latest quarter increased by 55 percent, setting a record for a three-month period.

Nvidia’s revenue rise can perhaps be attributed to the corporation’s recent expansion into the artificial intelligence industry, such as in the form of self-driving cars. The corporation has also reached into the virtual reality field, expecting that rising consumer interest in virtual reality will consequently fuel demand for graphics processing units.

“We had a great finish to a record year, with continued strong growth across all our businesses,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia. “Our GPU computing platform is enjoying rapid adoption in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, gaming, and autonomous vehicles.”

Last year, Nvidia unveiled the Tesla P100 chip, which Huang has called, “the largest chip ever made.” The device uses 15 billion transistors to quickly and efficiently process artificial intelligence tasks, as well as solve scientific problems when used in large supercomputers. Although the new chip can be used to guide autonomous cars, Nvidia is no stranger to the field of machine-learning. This software allows computers to recognize images by surveying large quantities of training photos and picking out faces. Nvidia’s GPUs have already utilized machine-learning in order to help self-driving cars analyze their surroundings, detect danger on the road and ultimately drive on their own.

Meanwhile, Nvidia’s Iray software is revolutionizing the virtual reality industry, using data center hardware to help create 3-D landscapes that look more photorealistic than the majority of virtual reality systems.

“Deep learning on NVIDIA GPUs, a breakthrough approach to AI, is helping to tackle challenges such as self-driving cars, early cancer detection and weather prediction. We can now see that GPU-based deep learning will revolutionize major industries, from consumer internet and transportation to health care and manufacturing. The era of AI is upon us,” said Huang in a press release sent to investors.

In total, the quarter that ended on Jan. 29 garnered Nvidia a net income of $655 million at 99 cents a share, surpassing analysts’ expectations. This number stands in stark contrast to Nvidia’s net income a year earlier, which was $542 million at 83 cents a share.

In the current quarter, Nvidia plans to keep in line with estimates, expecting to garner $1.9 million in revenue, plus or minus 2 percent. Capital expenditures are expected to reach $50 million to $60 million. Nvidia intends to give $1.25 million to shareholders via quarterly cash dividends and share repurchases, according to the corporation’s quarterly report. It will also pay its next quarterly cash dividend of $0.14 per share on March 17.

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