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While chip companies like Intel and Qualcomm have struggled in recent years, Nvidia has thrived. Videogamers love what Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs) can deliver, and investors like Jen-Hsun Huang’s bets on two en vogue technologies: artificial intelligence and virtual reality. It turns out that Nvidia’s GPUs are adept at powering a type of AI called deep learning that helps computers find patterns in enormous quantities of data. In August, Nvidia said its data-center business doubled quarterly sales year over year thanks in part to deep learning. And if virtual reality becomes a big business, more consumers may need computers with high-end GPUs to power VR headsets. Optimism about Huang’s bets is showing up in the company’s stock price, which has more than doubled over the past 12 months.

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