‘Wonderful Grace’: the identify behind Nvidia’s $2tn chip empire | Computing


In the arid tech sphere of semiconductor manufacturing, one hardback book-sized processor stands out: Nvidia’s H-100. On Friday, the Santa Clara, California, firm surpassed $2tn in valuation. The place it goes subsequent shall be all the way down to a chip named after “Wonderful Grace” Hopper, a US navy rear admiral who grew to become instrumental within the growth of design and implementation of programming languages.

Nvidia provides roughly 80% of the worldwide market in chips utilized in AI purposes. The corporate’s H-100 chips – the H is for Hopper – are actually so precious they must be transported by armored automotive, the Wall Road Journal reported on Friday, and demand is so nice that some prospects are ready so long as six months to obtain it.

The significance of Hopper to Nvidia, and to AI computing extra typically, was underscored final summer time when Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, named its subsequent technology of accelerated computing and generative AI chips the GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip.

R Adm Grace Hopper in 1985. {Photograph}: AP

Hopper was born in 1906 in New York Metropolis, graduated from Vassar Faculty with levels in arithmetic and physics in 1928, and joined the navy after the US joined the second world battle following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In line with a Yale College biography, she was initially rejected by the navy due to her age and diminutive dimension, however as soon as commissioned she was assigned to the Bureau of Ships computation mission at Harvard, the place she labored on the Mark I, the primary US electromechanical laptop, computing rocket trajectories, anti-aircraft gun vary tables and calibrating minesweepers.

After the battle, Hopper joined the Eckert-Mauchly Pc Company, later Sperry Rand, the place she pioneered the thought of automated programming. In 1952, she developed the primary compiler, a program that interprets written directions into laptop codes.

“What I used to be after in starting English language [programming] was to deliver one other complete group of individuals in a position to make use of the pc simply … I stored calling for extra user-friendly languages. A lot of the stuff we get from academicians, laptop science folks, is by no means tailored to folks,” Hopper defined in a 1980 interview.

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Hopper retired from the navy as a rear admiral on the age of 79 – the oldest serving officer within the US armed forces. A 12 months earlier than her dying in 1992, she was awarded the Nationwide Medal of Expertise by President George HW Bush. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2016.

In a 1983 interview with 60 Minutes, Hopper was requested if the pc revolution was over. Hopper replied: “No, we’re solely in the beginning … We’ve bought the Mannequin T.”

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