2018: Is the GPU the most important tech of the year?

It is not often that one technology or trend dominates an entire year. The internet and dotcom had a couple years like that. Facebook and social media had a year like that. And on the surface 2018 does not look to have a truly dominate tech story.

Let’s look at what some of the top tech stories are going into 2018:

  1. Bitcoin and Crypto Currency. There has been a ton of news. There was a huge run-up in value. There is some talk of it being a bubble, maybe the largest bubble ever. There are scams and ICOs daily. There are hackers and thefts. And who the heck is Satoshi?
  2. Machine Learning and AI. How much is this going to change the world? Elon Musk thinks it is the greatest current risk to mankind. Also, he wants you to use it to drive your car, even while you are not in the car to make some extra bucks. There is almost no field that is not actively trying to figure out how to make use of big data and AI to transform the way work is done.
  3. 3D VR and Augmented Reality. This one that seems like it is really really close to having its day. Finally. Apple launched ARkit, Google Launched ARCore. PlayStation VR has sold more units than Oculus and HTC Vive. And nevermind the huge FB investment in Oculus. Then Magic leap keeps raising more money from higher profile investors. Something seems to really be happening there.

Those all sound like very different stories. But let’s look at what makes them possible and will be critical assets to have. They all have one component in common.

The GPU.

Electronic miner from a cryptocurrency industry.

Surprisingly, The GPU is absolutely critical to the advancement of all of these technologies.

Want to develop a compelling VR/AR experience and Test Drive it on your development machine? You better have a GPU capable of driving two stereoscopic 3D eye lenses.

Want to secure the blockchain for Ethereum, Z-Cash, etc? You need not just one GPU like the one described above you need 3, 4, 5, 6 in a single case. You need a network of 1000’s of those spread across the globe.

In fact, you will need so many GPUs that the global supply will be constrained for other markets just to support your growth. Want to buy a graphics card to play PUBG? good luck finding one and not spending 100-200 over retail.

Want to get these fancy neural models trained? Guess what. You are going to need a powerful GPU that can iterate quickly over all those weightings and tweak them hundreds of thousands of times to find a local minimum. Then you will want to perturb it and solve it again. And you may want to cross-breed the solutions and try it again. And then you will need to do it again as new data comes in.

I think when you look at it through that lens, the clear story of 2018 is that all the hot new technologies are absolutely built on the back of high-end GPUs.

 

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