It's not the first time the CEO of NVIDIA sends a letter to its employees during the COVID-19 crisis, and then that letter is shared and gets marketed, I'm not sure what to make of that just yet. Regardlessly, below the fold the latest letter from him, covering some interesting topics.
I hope this note finds you and your family safe and well.
COVID-19 remains very serious. Don't let the stock market make you think the worst is over. People are suffering. The numbers are staggering. Nearly 5 million people worldwide are infected. Over 300,000 have lost their lives. Both doubled since I last wrote 30 days ago. Newly unemployed worldwide reached 200 million – already 37 million in the United States. Most were living paycheck to paycheck, barely getting by. Some are friends and family.
So, what do we do?
First, take care of our families. Raises have been pulled in six months to put a little extra money in your hands. We are fortunate. Our company is strong, and our business is thriving. Not all are. Consider paying your housekeeper, babysitter, gardener, even though they can't come to work. Give a little extra tip to the delivery person. Small acts of kindness from many can make a mountain of difference.
Our charity drives raised over $8.5 million! 3,500 employees donated $5 million. The NVIDIA Foundation joined in with $3.5M. We donated to charities around the world: World Health Organization, World Food Programme of the United Nations, local charities in India, Meals on Wheels America, Feeding America, Doctors without Borders, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, CV19 Regional Response Fund, First Responders First, helping people in 34 countries. Wonderful! Second, use our superpowers to fight the virus. Scientists and gurus are racing to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Sequencing the coronavirus. Accelerating the analysis of a billion drug candidates from a year to a day. Imaging the virus at molecular resolution using cryo-electron microscopy. Detecting infection in a lung CT using an AI model we developed with the NIH. Delivering drugs with a robot. Identifying elevated body temperature with an AI camera. For all of these, NVIDIA is their rocket ship when every second counts.
COVID-19 will not be the last killer-virus. We need to be ready for the next outbreak. The international scientific community needs to develop an end-to-end computational defense system that can detect early, accelerate the development of a vaccine, contain the spread, and continuously test and monitor.
Every nation will need a defense system against infectious disease.
Our engineers are racing to deploy the NVIDIA Clara computational healthcare platforms. Clara Parabricks can accelerate genomics analysis from days to minutes, enabling whole population sequencing to identify those most genetically vulnerable. Clara Imaging will continue to partner with leading research institutes like NIH to develop state-of-the-art AI models to detect infections. Clara Guardian will connect AI to cameras and microphones in hospitals to help overloaded staff watch over patients. NVIDIA Clara will be the computational shield of global defense systems.
Third, execute our mission. The world depends on our compute engine. Execution is in full throttle all over the company. IT, HR, Operations, Facilities, Finance, Legal are the unsung heroes making it possible for us to work from home. The load on them has skyrocketed. 2,800 Mellanox colleagues and 500 new employees have joined us digitally in the past 30 days. Three hundred interns have joined us this season. Sorry, no party at my house this year. Daily VPN connections have jumped three times to 14,000 in the last month. WebEx use has exploded four times to 27 million minutes.
The investment in remote bring-up has paid off hugely. Engineers were doing bring-up and testing from home, controlling the systems remotely, and viewing results on webcams. In India, the government prohibits anyone on-site except for the essential – the security guards. They know nothing about computers. With WhatsApp video chat, our engineers walked them through each step to adjust a setup, reboot, re-wire – "cut the green wire, no, not the red wire, the green wire." Ingenious!
We launched major products, from home. Mellanox CX6-Lx-Hag is the industry's most advanced SmartNIC optimized for high-volume hyperscale. NVIDIA A100 is the biggest, most complex chip, ever created – 54 billion transistors. NVIDIA DGX A100 is the most advanced AI computer ever built – nearly 1 trillion transistors, 30,000 parts, 1 million drill holes, 1 km of traces! The design is beautiful and a technological marvel. A100 and DGX A100 shipped volume in Q1 despite CV19 shutting down manufacturing for the entire first month. No mountain too high for NVIDIA Ops and Engineering.
The first DGX systems went to Selene, our Saturn V supercomputer extension. AI is core to our products and research. DGX is the essential instrument of our AI researchers. Working around the clock and inviting friends from all over the company to help, our infrastructure team brought Selene to life. The Mellanox team worked hand in hand with NVIDIA to do the complex networking – 170 Mellanox switches and 15 km of optical cables! Selene extends Saturn V to 5 exaflops. Saturn V is now the world’s fastest AI computer.
Omniverse is a revolutionary 3D design collaboration platform. Designers in different places, working with various tools, can magically portal into one shared 3D space and work together interactively. Omniverse is the ultimate virtual collaboration space. While the Omniverse team was coding the final touches, the RTX server team was building the server, and the creative team was creating the beautiful DGX Cinematics, Marble RTX, Isaac Sim, and all the GTC slide renderings. As if every floor of a skyscraper was built at the same time!
Finally, GTC 2020. A computing platform company focuses on developers. We announced 50 new SDKs! We did our first "kitchen keynote" and dropped it Netflix-style – the entire season in nine episodes. Teams across the company worked tirelessly, engineers building products, marketing and creatives preparing for launch. Juggling home schooling and keeping the family going, you did the biggest GTC ever! Fifty-seven thousand developers attended. The keynote videos have been viewed 3.8 MILLION times in just three days!
We highlighted several strategies that make us unique:
1. NVIDIA is a data center-scale computing company, with Mellanox, from networking to compute
2. NVIDIA AI accelerates the complete machine learning pipeline, now with Spark acceleration
3. NVIDIA A100 and DGX are a giant leap – up to 20 times over our own Volta V100
4. NVIDIA builds platforms that open large markets – like Clara, Isaac, Jarvis, Drive on EGX and AGX
So, when will we return to work? Your safety is our top concern. We will reopen when we are confident it is safe. In the meantime, we are enhancing sites for a safe return, learning best-known methods from others, and monitoring the guidance of health officials. When we do reopen, it will be measured and supportive of your circumstances.
Stay safe and well. We're here for you.