Get Inside Look at the Journey to NVIDIA Ampere GPUs from Jonah Alben

by Lauren Finkle

Jonah Alben, co-lead of GPU engineering at NVIDIA, knows something about patience — he’s spent the last four years working on the NVIDIA A100, which was announced this month during the GTC 2020 keynote.

A 23-year veteran of the company, Alben was an integral contributor to the creation of CUDA, the parallel programming  platform and application programming interface model that harnesses GPU acceleration.

He’s also seen the origins and growth of modern AI.

Alben spoke with Rick Merritt, long-time journalist and NVIDIA staff writer, on the AI Podcast about the current state of AI, and how the computer industry is building even better computer, system and data center architectures as Moore’s law slows.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Alben’s role requires that he unite hardware, software and systems teams to build GPUs that surpass the capabilities of the previous generation — in the case of the NVIDIA A100 GPU, by an astounding 20x.
  • With the NVIDIA A100 GPU’s 54 billion transistors — the world’s largest 7-nanometer processor — Alben’s team was challenged with ensuring that it didn’t outgrow its reticle, or size limit.


“We had a vision that when we put GPUs out in the world…that somewhere somebody out there in the world would find these GPUs and would use them for some new problem that we didn’t even know about” — Jonah Alben [4:38]

“We wanted to make sure we put everything that we could imagine into making a great chip for our customers” — Jonah Alben [14:37]

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