Jen Hsun Huang

While chip companies like Intel and Qualcomm have struggled in recent years, Nvidia has thrived. Videogamers love what Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs) can deliver, and investors like Jen-Hsun Huang’s bets on two en vogue technologies: artificial intelligence and virtual reality. It turns out that Nvidia’s GPUs are adept at powering a type of AI called deep learning that helps computers find patterns in enormous quantities of data. In August, Nvidia said its data-center business doubled quarterly sales year over year thanks in part to deep learning. And if virtual reality becomes a big business, more consumers may need computers with high-end GPUs to power VR headsets. Optimism about Huang’s bets is showing up in the company’s stock price, which has more than doubled over the past 12 months.

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