Nvidia’s GTC will feature deep learning cabal of LeCun, Hinton, and Bengio

The deep learning trio helped to popularize the use of Nvidia’s graphics chips for machine learning.
Written by Tiernan Ray, Senior Contributing Writer

Eleven years after Geoffrey Hinton couldn't get a free sample from Nvidia, the Touring Award winner will join his comrades Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun at the 2021 GTC conference hosted by Nvidia as a headline speaker, Nvidia announced Tuesday

The event, running April 12 through April 16, will feature the customary keynote from Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, starting at 8:30am PT on April 12. 

Said Huang in the press release, "GTC brings together a massive ecosystem of developers, researchers and corporate leaders who are using AI and accelerated computing to change the world

"We have our strongest program ever this year, highlighted by Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun, among 1,300 sessions focused on every aspect of computing and networking. There is no better place to see the future and how you can help shape it." 

Also: AI on steroids: Much bigger neural nets to come with new hardware, say Bengio, Hinton, and LeCun

Hinton, a professor at the University of Toronto, and also a researcher with Google's AI division, along with Bengio of Canada's MILA institute, and LeCun of Facebook, have called themselves co-conspirators in the revival of the once-moribund field of "deep learning." The three all received the prestigious Turing Award, named in honor of computing pioneer Alan Turing, in 2019 for their contributions to computing.

The conference will also host the three scholars' arch-nemesis, NYU professor Gary Marcus, who has been a relentless critic of deep learning, and who sparred with Bengio during a 2019 debate.

More on the conference is available on the Nvidia website.

What has been labeled the deep learning revolution, the break-through in multi-layer perceptrons, or neural networks, circa 2006, is also the trend that made possible the huge expansion in Nvidia's data center business. 

During a meeting with journalists a year ago in New York, at the annual AAAI conference, Hinton recalled with Mirth how he had been turned down by Nvidia eleven years ago when he'd sought to get a free graphics card. 

"I made a big mistake back in 2009 with Nvidia," Hinton recalled with a grin "In 2009, I told an audience of 1,000 grad students they should go and buy Nvidia GPUs to speed up their neural nets. I called Nvidia and said, I just recommended your GPUs to 1,000 researchers, can you give me a free one, and they said, No."

"What I should have done, if I was really smart, was take all my savings and put it into Nvidia stock. The stock was at $20 then, now it's, like, $250."

And today, Nvidia shares are trading for $496.17.

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