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Jensen Huang: Racism is a flywheel that we must stop

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Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Asian American Engineer of the Year from Chinese Institute of Engineers group (CIE). And in his acceptance speech, he made a rare comment beyond Nvidia’s business: “Racism is a flywheel that we must stop. “

The comments came at the end of an acceptance speech where he thanked the group for their award, an annual gathering that recognizes outstanding Asian scientists, engineers and models.

In a virtual ceremony, Huang was honored for his contributions as a “visionary and innovator in parallel computing technology that accelerates the realization of AI computing.” He also spoke about his experience as an immigrant and an Asian American.

“It’s weird to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award because I feel like I’m just getting started – and Nvidia is indeed,” Huang said. “Nonetheless, I am grateful and deeply honored to receive this award, which I share with my colleagues at Nvidia. “

Starting Nvidia

Above: Jensen Huang in his early years as an engineer.

Image Credit: Nvidia / CIE

Huang pointed out that he was “destined to be an engineer” because his father was an engineer in Taiwan. His brothers were engineers and his wife Laurie, whom he met in second year at Oregon State University, is an engineer. His first job was at Advanced Micro Devices, then he joined LSI Logic before starting Nvidia in 1993.

I remember the first interview I had with Jen-Hsun (now Jensen) Huang, general manager of Nvidia, when the company came out of stealth in 1995. Since 3D PC games didn’t exist at the time, Huang described his graphics chip as the ideal “Windows accelerator.” Nvidia competed against dozens of competitors like 3DFX Interactive, and it became the last stand-alone maker of 3D graphics chips as graphics processing units (GPUs) took off. Huang saw an early opportunity to reuse graphics chips as parallel processors for AI, and that market took off in an even bigger way than graphics for games.

“I was fortunate to have been at the forefront of the creation of the computer industry,” said Huang, referring to the beginnings of Nvidia and the birth of GPU-accelerated computing. “We dreamed of solving big IT challenges and even imagined that we would one day be a big IT company. “

Since the company’s first chip, the complexity of computer graphics scenes has increased about 500 million times in 25 years, Huang said. Moore’s Law, which predicts that chip performance will double every two years, would have increased only 100,000 times at the same time, without the help of better chip design.

“After nearly three decades, it is gratifying to see this IT approach demonstrate amazing results, adopted by software developers and computer manufacturers around the world, become a vital tool for scientists and the engine of modern AI. “Huang said. “There has never been a more exciting time to be an engineer. “

He said the next decade will go even faster, with AI itself writing software that will be amazing. He said AI is the most powerful technological force of our time. Nvidia is now worth $ 458 billion on the stock market and employs 20,000 people.

Remembering immigrants

Above: Jensen Huang (right) and his parents.

Image Credit: Nvidia

Huang said he was a direct product of his mother and father’s American dream as they gave up everything to come to this land of opportunity as immigrants. They believed in a country ruled by laws and not by prejudice.

“Like other immigrants, Asian Americans make up the fabric of America, have benefited but also made a significant contribution to the building of this great country,” he said. “Although America is not perfect, it is difficult as a first generation immigrant not to feel a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities she has offered. I only hope that America will provide future generations with the same opportunities that it has given me.

Above: Jensen Huang and his wife Laurie.

Image Credit: Nvidia

In his thanks, Huang shared his thoughts as a first-generation immigrant amid a recent wave of violent attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic.

He added: “Racism is a flywheel that we must stop. Like other immigrants, Asian Americans are the fabric of America, have benefited, but have also contributed significantly to the building of this great country. “

He highlighted the work of community organizations like Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE) is vitally important in recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans.

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