Nvidia accelerates enterprise adoption of generative AI

As the generative AI bandwagon gathers pace, Nvidia is promising tools to accelerate it still further.

On March 21, CEO Jensen Huang (pictured) told attendees at the company’s online-only developer conference, GTC 2023, about a string of new services Nvidia hopes enterprises will use to train and run their own generative AI models.

When they hit the market, they’ll open up more options along the build-vs-buy continuum for CIOs called upon to support AI training workloads.

This doesn’t mean CIOs can just hand off responsibility for AI infrastructure, said Shane Rau, a research VP covering data processing chips for IDC. 

“CIOs should already understand that AI is not one-size-fits-all,” he said. “The AI solution stack varies according to how it will be used, which implies one must have intimate understanding of the AI use case — your AI workers and the end domain in which they work — and how to map the needs of the use case to the silicon, software, system hardware, and services.”

Nvidia is offering as-a-service solutions to those problems at several levels. Nvidia AI Foundations is a family of cloud services with which enterprises will be able to build their own large language models (LLMs), the technologies at the heart of generative AI systems, and run them at scale, calling them from enterprise applications via Nvidia’s APIs.

There will be three Foundations services at launch, still in limited access or private preview for now: NeMo for generating text, Picasso for visuals, and BioNeMo for molecular structures. Each offering will include pre-trained models, data processing frameworks, personalization databases, inference engines, and APIs that enterprises can access from a browser, Nvidia said.

Generative AI in action

Financial data provider Morningstar is already studying how it can use test-based NeMo to extract useful information about markets from raw data, drawing on the expertise of its staff to tune the models, according to Nvidia.

The Picasso service will enable enterprises to train models to generate custom images, videos, and even 3D models in the cloud. Nvidia is partnering with Adobe to deliver such generative capabilities inside Adobe’s tools for creative professionals such as Photoshop and After Effects.

Nvidia is seeking to clean up graphical generative AI’s reputation for playing fast and loose with the rights of the artists and photographers on whose works the models are trained. There are concerns that using such models to create derivative work could expose enterprises to lawsuits for breach of copyright. Nvidia hopes to allay those concerns by striking a licensing deal with stock image library Getty Images, which says it will pay royalties to artists on revenue generated by models trained on the works in its database.

Nvidia is working with another library, Shutterstock, to train Picasso to create 3D models in response to text prompts based on licensed images in its database. These 3D designs will be available for use in industrial digital twins running on Nvidia’s Omniverse platform.

The third AI Foundations service, BioNeMo, deals not in words and images but in molecular structures. Researchers can use it to design new molecules and predict their behavior. Nvidia is targeting it at pharmaceutical firms for drug discovery and testing, fine-tuning it with proprietary data. It named biotechnology company Amgen as one of the first users of the service.

AI infrastructure additions

Nvidia’s AI Foundations software services will run in DGX Cloud, a new infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

DGX is the name of Nvidia’s supercomputer in a box, one of the first of which was delivered to OpenAI, developer of ChatGPT, in 2016. Half of all Fortune 100 companies now have their own DGX supercomputers, according to Nvidia.

Cloud providers such as Oracle and Microsoft are beginning to offer access to the H100 processors on which the DGX is built, and Amazon Web Services will soon join them, Nvidia said.

Later this year, enterprises that don’t want to buy their own DGX supercomputer will have the option of renting clusters of those H100 processors by the month through the DGX Cloud service, which will be hosted by Nvidia’s hyperscaler partners.

CIOs are likely already using hardware, software, and perhaps services from Nvidia to support AI-enabled applications in the enterprise, but the company’s move deeper into the as-a-service market raises new questions, said IDC’s Rau.

“Having Nvidia as a service provider will likely mean a single source of responsibility for the service and a familiar underlying solution architecture,” he said. “But relying on Nvidia for service and the underlying solution architecture offers the prospect of costly lock-in should other service and solution architecture providers innovate faster on some measure, like performance or cost.”

Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Management, Infrastructure Management, IT Leadership