NVIDIA Launches AI Startup Competition in Israel with $100K Prize

As part of our first GPU Technology Conference in Israel, we’ve launched a competition to find the best young companies in AI in a country known as “startup nation.” Ten finalists will compete in the Inception Awards Israel event at GTC, taking place in Tel Aviv on Oct. 18.

The prize: an NVIDIA DGX Station, a personal AI supercomputer worth $100,000.

Calling Israel’s AI Startups

To be eligible, startups must be based in Israel, use AI, have been founded within the last two years and have raised no more than $5 million in funding.

Applications for the Inception Awards Israel close on Sept. 16.

Finalists will be selected based on a range of criteria, including their innovative application of AI, commercial potential and social impact. The five companies will present in front of an audience of venture capitalists, press, industry analysts and business decision makers for the chance to be named Israel’s Best AI Startup.

The awards judging panel will comprise:

  • Mor Barak, general manager of The Junction, F2 Capital
  • Eli David, co-founder and CTO, Deep Instinct
  • Eyal Niv, managing general partner, Pitango
  • Jeff Herbst, vice president of business development, NVIDIA
Winners in the NVIDIA Inception competition take the stage.
Previous Inception Awards winners include Tel Aviv-based Deep Instinct.

Deep Learning, Big Impact

Boasting over 3,000 startups in a country of just 9 million people, Israel has earned its reputation as the “startup nation.” Young Israeli companies have already made their mark on NVIDIA’s Inception program, our virtual incubator for nurturing AI startups.

In May, at our inaugural Inception awards in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv-based Deep Instinct walked away with the top prize of Most Disruptive Startup. The company went on to raise $32 million in Series B funding.

By bringing the Inception awards to Israel, our goal is to shine a spotlight on the next generation of rising AI stars.

Enter the Inception Awards Israel here.

Learn more about what’s on offer for startups and VCs at GTC Israel.

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Winner Winner, Schnitzel Dinner: Gamers Get Peek at What’s Next at Gamescom

Some will quaff the crisp Kölsch. Others will sample the savory pork knuckle. But all of the 350,000 gamers crowding into Cologne this week for the world’s largest gamer gathering will feast on the latest that gaming has to offer.

With PC gaming thriving like never before, we couldn’t wait for Gamescom 2017 to begin — so we didn’t.

At a pre-show event this weekend, attendees heard from the developers of Destiny 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Shadow of War and FINAL FANTASY XV WINDOWS EDITION — announced with a stunning 4K trailer revealing the game will launch early next year and be packed with NVIDIA GameWorks technology.

Gamers at the event got hands-on with all these titles, as well as Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, Forza Motorsport 7, Need For Speed Payback, Lawbreakers, Project Cars 2 and more.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Gets NVIDIA ShadowPlay Highlights

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has caused a worldwide sensation since its release in March on Steam’s early access platform. It’s made history as one of only three titles to break 600,000 concurrent players on Steam.

With every update now eagerly anticipated, Gamescom was the perfect event at which to announce that NVIDIA ShadowPlay Highlights is now in the multiplayer online battle royale automatically capturing video and screenshots of your greatest achievements.

FINAL FANTASY XV

You only need to hear a snippet of Final Fantasy’s signature title screen music to know you’re in for another epic journey. And with over 135 million units sold worldwide, a lot of fans share this feeling. Now PC gamers can join the adventure with FINAL FANTASY XV.

With full support for GeForce Experience, and the combination of Square Enix’s cutting-edge Luminous Engine and NVIDIA GameWorks, this is the definitive version of the game. With native support for 4K and 8K resolutions, as well as HDR10, the world of Eos will look stunning. And with NVIDIA Ansel support, sharing your adventures is easy.

New Games, New Feature for Ansel

You’ll also be able to flex your creative muscles with support for Ansel, our in-game photo capture tool, in Monolith’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2018. Whether you’re capturing a glimpse of Shelob or framing your 40-yard screamer at the Nou Camp for posterity, we can’t wait to see your screenshots.

And Ansel will keep on getting better with the introduction of AI Style Transfer. Once you’ve framed the perfect shot, just use this new feature to pick a painting from your favorite artist. GeForce AI then transforms your snapshot into a masterpiece in the unique style of the artist you’ve selected.

Get Ready for Destiny 2 with GeForce

Let’s not forget one of the most eagerly awaited titles of the year: Destiny 2. Bungie’s seminal shooter is having its PC beta next week (starting August 28 for those with Early Access). We’ve also announced that HDR and SLI support is coming, together with the latest Destiny 2 bundle. Buyers of select GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and 1080 GPUs, systems and laptops will get the game at PC launch.

We’ll also be giving some lucky GeForce Experience users early access to the beta. So, make sure you’re registered and keep your fingers crossed. And everyone trying the beta should make sure they download the Destiny 2 Beta Game Ready Driver on August 24.

Follow Us for the Latest from Gamescom

This is just a snapshot of what’s already come out of Gamescom 2017. Stay connected to NVIDIA through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see more behind-the-scenes stories throughout the week. You can also find in-depth articles on the above games, technologies and more at www.geforce.com.

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Color Me Green: Summer Interns Living the Life NVIDIA

What’s a journalism and politics major from Ithaca College in upstate New York doing interning at NVIDIA, which focuses on AI, self-driving cars and VR? Believe me, I asked myself the same question.

I never thought I would be writing on subjects such as intelligent drones protecting endangered species in Africa, a Chinese startup building driverless trucks, and AI’s ability to determine the future of red giant stars.

Researching and writing stories like these as a corporate communications intern here this summer has made one thing clear: the company’s GPU-powered AI revolution values diversity.

Over 400 students interned at the company’s Santa Clara headquarters this summer, its biggest class yet. That put NVIDIA’s University Recruiting team into overdrive developing a comprehensive curriculum, offering opportunities to build skills, and planning networking events for our interns and their new colleagues.

Building the Future

NVIDIA interns at Earthquakes game
Dozens of interns and managers got together for a San Jose Earthquakes game.

Innovation has been the crux of Anuj Rao’s work making our GPUs with our architecture team. Using simulation models, Rao, a computer engineering master’s student at the University of California, San Diego, worked to modify the overall performance of our GPUs, with a focus on better running AI applications.

“I gained an understanding of the workflow since people usually only see the end product,” said Rao. “But I worked on trials and collaborated with research, hardware and software teams for feedback.”

Growing up with little access to computers in Bokaro Steel City, a small town in the mineral-rich state of Jharkhand, India, Leena Sarkar never imagined she would one day be working on the forefront of self-driving car technology.

Collaborating with our autonomous driving unit, she’s made the most of the experience by developing a chatbot for navigation using recurrent neural networks. The bot finds the best route as per driver preferences and provides a few route choices that drivers can select to navigate. It’s a critical step towards both copiloted and complete autonomous driving.

“It has been very exciting,” said Sarkar, who moved from India last year to pursue her master’s thesis in processing and machine learning at Stony Brook University in New York. “I loved working on AI and this gave me a great opportunity to explore goal-oriented dialogue agents.”

Others, like new-experiences research intern Alexander Majercik, had the chance to travel outside of Silicon Valley. Majercik helped his team with their emerging technology demo on virtual reality at SIGGRAPH, an annual computer graphics conference held in Los Angeles.

“VR research specifically is fundamentally changing the way we interact with technology such as computers, so it’s been very interesting to be a part of a transformation,” said Majercik, a recent computer science graduate of Williams College, in Massachusetts.

NVIDIA interns volunteering
Each summer, NVIDIA interns take part in community giving events.

Culture of Giving Back

It’s not all coding, programming and data crunching for our interns. Over 85 of them tackled a different kind of project in late July: packaging meals to support “Rise Against Hunger,” an international hunger relief organization.

Supported by the NVIDIA Foundation, the team assembled more than 18,000 meal packets filled with soy, dehydrated vegetables, rice and vitamins, which will be distributed to Pacific Rim countries, including North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia.

“It’s awesome. I haven’t had a chance to do something like this before,” said Akanksha Bindal, a computer science major at Georgia Institute of Technology, who’s been working on our product strategy team for gaming products.

Bonding at Break Time

Interns also built ties through sports and weekend excursions.

In mid-July, around 300 interns and their mentors sporting NVIDIA shirts and hoodies gathered at Avaya Stadium to enjoy a BBQ and vegetarian dinner and watch a friendly soccer match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt.

Interns and managers’ night out at the Avaya Stadium.

Taking every opportunity to soak in the California sun, a few dozen interns regularly coordinated weekend trips through an “intern-excursions” listserv. They hit destinations such as Monterey, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. Jacob Rampertab, who interns with our Tegra Software team, said his favorite experience was visiting a waterfall near Lake Tahoe.

“We’ve done a lot of attractions, sightseeing and almost everything you’d find if you went on TripAdvisor,” said Rampertab, a mechatronics student at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “We have a good group, so there’s always some subset of people who want to do something.”

It’s never too early to plan your next summer. Find out more about NVIDIA’s internship program.

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Start Your Engines: VW, NVIDIA Seeking AI Startups for Collaboration

Volkswagen and NVIDIA are looking to help five top startups put the pedal to the metal in the race to bring new technology to the automotive industry.

The companies selected will join the Startup Collaboration Space at the Volkswagen Data:Lab in Munich, for a 14-week program. The call for applications is open until Sept. 15.

The startups will be part of a VW effort focused on exploiting technology such as, but not limited to, GPU deep learning, machine learning and data science to solve challenges the auto industry faces inside and outside the vehicle, including cybersecurity, logistics, speech and image recognition, and predictive maintenance.

Those selected will each receive €30,000 ($35,000) investment without giving up equity; office space and lab facilities within the lab; mentoring and guidance from VW and NVIDIA experts; plus access to the full resources of the Data:Lab, including an NVIDIA DGX-1 AI supercomputer.

After the first 14-week session, further startups will be selected to participate in future cycles.

“At the Data:Lab Munich, our mission is to create an environment where our team of machine learning experts, industry and academic partners can realize AI’s potential to transform the auto industry,” says Barbara Sichler, director of Business Development and Product Management at the Volkswagen Data:Lab.

Interested startups should apply at the Startup Collaboration Space platform.

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World’s Largest ‘CS:GO’ League Selects NVIDIA GeForce

The stakes are high. The crowds — online and off — are enormous. So the gear better be great.

That’s why the world’s top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will battle it out in the sixth season of the ESL Pro League for a $1 million prize pool on rigs equipped with our GeForce GTX GPUs.

ESL Pro League trophy
The world’s top CS:GO teams will battle on GeForce GTX rigs in the sixth season of the ESL Pro League for a $1 million prize pool and a cool trophy.

ESL’s events fill stadiums, attract elite players with huge followings and draw online audiences measured in the millions. This is the third year we’re working with ESL, the world’s largest esports company. They are, by any measure, one of the world’s foremost sporting organizations.

We couldn’t think of a better venue for our technology — both on and off the sport’s electronic playing field. ESL requires gaming performance for its pro players and gear that can reliably serve up content to vast audiences online.

“NVIDIA GeForce is synonymous with PC gaming, which is the number one platform for esports,” said Ulrich Schulze, senior vice president of products at ESL. “Pro players competing in our tournaments expect to play on NVIDIA GPUs, because GeForce GTX provides the performance and reliability they demand to excel at their games.”

GeForce GTX GPUs will also support some of the biggest events in the ESL One series, including ESL One New York and ESL One Hamburg in 2017. Our technology will be put to work powering top tier competition in both Dota 2 and CS:GO. In addition, GeForce GTX is the official graphics platform for The International DotA 2 Championships/Majors, as well as at Blizzcon.

ESL Pro League Season 5 was the most watched yet. With the inclusion of YouTube streaming, its online audience grew more than 17 percent compared to the previous season.

We think this year’s competition will be the biggest — and best — yet.

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NVIDIA Invests in Chinese Autonomous Truck Startup TuSimple

NVIDIA GPU Ventures has joined a group of investors led by Chinese social media company Sina in investing more than $20 million in Chinese startup TuSimple.

Formed in 2015, TuSimple develops technology for autonomous long-distance freight delivery.

TuSimple uses NVIDIA GPUs, NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2, Jetson TX2, CUDA, TensorRT and cuDNN to develop its autonomous driving solution. In June, the company successfully completed a 200-mile Level 4 test drive from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona, using NVIDIA GPUs and cameras as the primary sensor.

TuSimple has over 100 employees in two R&D centers, in Beijing and San Diego.

“NVIDIA is unrivaled in delivering the computing performance needed for autonomous vehicles,” said Xiaodi Hou, chief technology office of TuSimple. “By combining NVIDIA technology with our expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence, we’re building a world-class platform that will disrupt the freight industry. We highly value our strategic partnership with NVIDIA.”

NVIDIA continues to expand its portfolio of startup investments, adding nine companies in four countries over the past year. New investments include:

  • ABEJA – Tokyo startup focused on AI-powered retail analytics systems
  • Datalogue – New York AI data-mining platform developed out of Cornell University
  • Deep Instinct – Israeli startup focued on cybersecurity
  • Element AI – Montreal startup helps companies quickly integrate AI capabilities
  • Fastdata.io – California startup offering streaming analytics software
  • Optimus Ride – MIT spinoff developing fully autonomous vehicles
  • SoundHound – Silicon Valley startup building voice-enabled AI solutions
  • TempoQuest – Colorado startup doing GPU-accelerated weather forecasting
  • Zebra Medical – Israeli startup using AI to read medical images

NVIDIA GPU Ventures is one element of the company’s extensive involvement in the AI ecosystem. We also have our Inception program, which includes some 1,750 startups from around the world, which we support with a team that provides access to technology, strategic expertise and our global marketing platform.

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