NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang was today conferred the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by Asian American Engineer of the Year, an annual event that recognizes outstanding Asian American scientists, engineers and role models.
In a virtual ceremony, Huang was awarded for his contributions as “a visionary and innovator in parallel computing technology that accelerates the realization of AI computing.” He also spoke of his experience as an immigrant and an Asian American.
“It is strange to accept a lifetime achievement award because I feel like I’m just getting started – and NVIDIA indeed is,” Huang said. “Still, I’m grateful and deeply honored to receive this award, which I share with my colleagues at NVIDIA.”
Past recipients of the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award include Nobel laureates, astronauts and key corporate executives like TSMC founder Morris Chang. The event was hosted by the nonprofit Chinese Institute of Engineers/USA, part of the DiscoverE Diversity Council.
“I was fortunate to have had a front-row seat at the creation of the computer industry,” Huang said, reflecting on the early days of NVIDIA and the birth of GPU-accelerated computing. “We dreamed of solving grand computing challenges and even imagined that we would be a major computing company one day.”
Since the company’s first chip, Huang explained, scene complexity in computer graphics has increased around 500 million times. Beyond the field of graphics, GPU acceleration has been channeled into high performance computing and AI to address previously impossible problems in areas such as molecular biology.
“After nearly three decades, it is gratifying to see this computing approach demonstrate astonishing results, embraced by software developers and computer makers worldwide, become an essential instrument of scientists and the engine of modern AI,” Huang said. “There has never been a more exciting time to be an engineer.”
Huang also took the opportunity to share his thoughts as a first-generation immigrant amid a recent rash of violent attacks on Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic.
“Like other immigrants, Asian Americans make up the fabric of America, have benefited from but also contributed significantly to building this great country,” he said. “Though America is not perfect, it’s hard as a first-generation immigrant not to feel a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities she offered. I only hope America offers future generations the same opportunities she afforded me.”