Greg Estes Interview: What to Expect at Nvidia’s GTC Event

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Nvidia was unable to complete its $80 billion acquisition of Arm, but the AI ​​and graphics chip giant still has plenty to talk about at its upcoming Nvidia GTC online conference March 21-24.

Greg Estes, vice president of developer programs at Nvidia, said in an interview with VentureBeat that one of the hot topics will be the latest take on the metaverse and where digital twins are headed.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang will deliver a keynote speech on March 22 at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. Other top speakers include Andrew Ng, CEO of DeepLearning.AI and founder of Coursera and the Google Brain project, which developed large-scale deep learning algorithms.

The event is a big deal as Nvidia has now crossed three million developers and needs to communicate with them. More than 20 million people watched Huang’s latest keynote at the GTC event in November, and more than 200,000 people registered to attend sessions at the free GTC online event.


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“We will see most of the major announcements for our business, and this AV will be no exception,” Estes said. “Our team has done a fantastic job and you will enjoy it.”

The Omniverse Replicator for Drive

Another speaker is Lidia Fonseca, executive vice president of Pfizer. She is responsible for the enterprise-wide digital, data and technology strategy at the pharmaceutical giant. Also speaking are Steve May, chief technology officer at Pixar, and Marc Petit, general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games.

I will be leading a session on March 22 at 10 AM Pacific Time called “A Vision of the Metaverse: How We Will Build Connected Virtual Worlds.” The panel will focus on the industrial metaverse and how it will unfold over time.

It includes speakers Rev Lebaredian, VP Omniverse & Simulation Technology at Nvidia; Virginie Maillard, Global Head of Simulation and Digital Twin Research at Siemens; Amy Bunszel, EVP for AEC Design Solutions at Autodesk; Timoni West, VP Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality at Unity; and Lori Hufford, VP Engineering Collaboration at Bentley Systems. Our previous GTC metaverse session in November was one of the top sessions at the event.

Estes noted that Nvidia’s Inception program now tracks more than 10,000 AI startups, compared to 8,500 the last time we spoke. That represents a huge amount of ecosystem growth for the AI ​​economy. Nvidia is connected with more than 100 venture capital firms that invest in the startups and want to show off their results.

“We get to see both sides of the deal,” Estes said.

The feedback loop between the Omniverse and the real world

“One of the most important things is our view of the metaverse and where digital twins are going,” Estes says. “And our view may be different from what many other companies are positioning themselves. “An important and fundamental difference is that these things are not only discussed by us, but by many leading companies.”

To me that sounds a bit like code for how Nvidia supports an open metaverse and there are probably other big companies that prefer a closed metaverse. That’s why Nvidia is trying to get a who’s who list of people from different companies to talk about things like creating a virtual world based on real physics.

“Our ecosystem and the development community are very interested in the idea of ​​digital twins, and because it’s bidirectional, where information you learn in the Omniverse simulation influences your decisions, but then sensors and other things that happen in the real world come back. and affect the simulation,” said Estes. “That’s so important and affects architecture, product design, training systems, and across all industries.”

Estes noted that BMW tests a lot of robotics in its digital twin of a factory, using AI and sensor input, and then creates a plan it can respond to to place people in that environment in the real world.

This AV is a lot about robots.This AV contains a lot about robots.

“You have a continuous feedback loop that shows up with robots running around a factory or how self-driving cars work,” he said. “You have devices that take sensor input and provide data to the digital twin.”

In healthcare, Estes said sensor data relays information to AI that can help with a wide variety of tasks, such as studying cell structures or using AI to view data to help a radiologist detect cancer.

“AI and robotics are going to be huge for us,” Estes said. “And you’ll see Omniverse continue to be a very important part for us as the foundation of what we’re doing in self-driving cars with our Drive platform, with what we’re doing with the Isaac robotics platform, and what we’re doing in manufacturing, space and collaboration on everything from media and entertainment to product design.”

Nvidia will invite more industries and software partners to its Omniverse community so it can continue to grow tenfold from year to year.

Perhaps the most important project Nvidia is working on is Earth-2, a supercomputer simulation that will attempt to capture a digital twin of Earth. The company is gathering all the supercomputing resources and research to model the planet’s climate in an effort to predict climate change for decades to come. This will take a lot of resources from the tech industry, but everyone in the world has a vested interest in these predictions.

And since Nvidia will use the Omniverse to build Earth-2, it will find a cross between things like its software simulation business, its supercomputing technology, its connected data centers, its AI and graphics chips, and many of the other things Nvidia does. Huang will discuss Nvidia’s progress in the keynote speech.

“This is core science and it can help people who build wind farms and need to understand how wind turbulence works,” Estes said. “If you don’t have this collaboration and simulations that react to data you find in real life, then it’s just a game. It might be fun, but you’re not advancing the science around it. You cannot improve the products in the digital twin, such as the factory.

A scene from an Ericsson Omniverse scene.A scene from an Ericsson Omniverse environment.

Estes noted that AI is infiltrating everything, and you’ll see consumer companies like Best Buy, Home Depot, Walmart, Kroger’s, Lowe’s, and others talking about the technology they’re using at GTC. Everyone from the CIA to AstraZeneca will be speaking at the event, Estes said.

“When the average person thinks about AI, they probably don’t realize how much it affects their lives today,” Estes said. “We are tackling this theme: AI is going mainstream in the world’s largest industries. We also attract students from all over the world. We’re targeting female developers with special training programs, and the Nvidia Black employee network is staging some things. We are reaching disadvantaged communities.”

As for doing it online, the team had to plan for the event six months ago, at which point it was clear that the pandemic was making physical events impossible.

“There are big stories about where AI is going, where we are going with the Omniverse and the digital twin is a big part of that, and I think robotics is the next wave of AI,” Estes said.

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