Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang shouts out OpenAI cofounder Ilya Sutskever for sparking ‘the big bang of deep learning’

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang had high praise for Ilya Sutskever, the OpenAI cofounder who left his company after a chaotic attempt to oust its chief executive, Sam Altman.

During a commencement speech on June 14 at the California Institute of Technology, the Nvidia cofounder name-dropped Sutskever and two other renowned computer scientists for their pioneering work on a convolutional neural network (CNN) called AlexNet, which is a program that can conduct image recognition.

The CNN relied on Nvidia’s graphics processing units or GPUs — the very chips that turned the tech company into a multi-trillion dollar company amid the AI boom — to successfully recognize more than a million high-resolution images in 2012, according to the research paper on AlexNet. The model was designed by Alex Krizhevksy, Geoffrey E. Hinton, and Sutskever.

“Geoff Hinton, Alex Krizhevsky, and Ilya Sutskever used Nvidia CUDA GPUs to train AlexNet and shocked the computer vision community by winning the 2012 ImageNet challenge,” Jensen said, referring to the challenge, in which teams of researchers compete to see which one of their programs can most accurately recognize images. “This was the big moment, the big bang of deep learning. A pivotal moment that marked the beginning of AI revolution.”

A 2017 article from Quartz attributed the 2012 competition as the “single event” that sparked the artificial intelligence boom as AlexNet swept its competitors.

“Well, I endorse his comment, that’s all I can say :)” Krizhevsky said in a brief email to Business Insider.

Sutskever and Hinton did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside business hours.

Three years after AlexNet, Sutskever started OpenAI with Altman, Elon Musk, and a team of researchers.

His tenure as OpenAI’s chief scientist ended in May, six months after he and the company’s board members pushed to oust Altman in November.

Business Insider reported that his role in the chaotic attempt to remove Altman clouded his future at OpenAI. Sutskever later said he regretted his decision to support Altman’s dismissal.

In June, a month after he announced that he would leave the company he cofounded, Sutskever said he was starting a new artificial intelligence venture: Super Safeintelligence Inc., a research lab.

The lab stated in a release that Super Safeintelligence Inc. has “one goal and one product: a safe superintelligence.”

A spokesperson for Super Safeintelligence did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside business hours.

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Lloyd Lee