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Silicon Valley tends to fall in love with the new new thing. Chip maker Nvidia is the new old thing, an overnight success story years in the making that is having its moment and then some.
As Fortune’s Andrew Nusca says in his finely crafted cover story in the new issue of the magazine, you can be forgiven for not having heard of Nvidia. Its chips for years have gone into the guts of gaming devices to make their animations comes to life. Now Nvidia’s chips are powering artificial intelligence for use in applications like self-driving cars. As Nusca writes, “its GPUs, or ‘graphics processing units,’ crunch the complex calculations necessary for cryptocurrency markets, so-called deep neural networks, and the visual fireworks you see on the big screen. The same technology that makes brutally realistic shooter games come alive helps self-driving cars take an “S” curve without assistance—enabling computers to see, hear, understand, and learn.”
As is often the case, there’s a resident visionary at Nvidia. His name is Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO. For his accomplishments leading Nvidia to a market value of $125 billion and repositioning his company ahead of the AI craze, Fortune has named Huang its Businessperson of the Year.
You won’t be disappointed with Huang’s heroic entrepreneur’s tale, from starting Nvidia with an idea and a small amount of cash to leading an industry.