Following the ongoing saga of technology event cancelations into March and beyond, NVIDIA has now become the latest event host to cancel or substantially alter a planned event due to concerns over the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The company's annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC), which as of just last week was still scheduled to take place with enhanced sanitization procedures in place, has now become an all-digital show. As a result, NVIDIA will still be holding certain events – including most critically, CEO Jensen Huang's keynote talk – just without the physical component.

NVIDIA's brief (and seemingly hasty) announcement is short but straightforward: out of concern over the virus, the physical event is canceled. In its place the keynote will be delivered via livestream, and NVIDIA is "working with our conference speakers to begin publishing their talks online beginning in the weeks ahead". Overall, NVIDIA is taking a route very similar to what we've seen a few other conferences plan for, allowing interested participants and speakers to still deliver their own presentations digitally. For many of these companies and individuals, they have product announcements or disclosures that have been in the works for months and/or are tied to other announcements, so they still intend to make those announcements in some form.

As for NVIDIA, the company has ample experience delivering keynote presentations via livestream – indeed for the many thousands of GTC attendees watching Huang's keynote live, many times that number are watching the livestream to begin with. So while Huang may not get to play to a crowd as he likes to do, he won't be without an audience.

Overall, this year's GTC is widely expected to include the announcement of a next-generation compute GPU architecture, making it one of the most important GTCs of the last few years. NVIDIA's current Volta architecture-based GV100 GPU is now a few years old, and supercomputer planning announcements have tipped the fact that NVIDIA will have a new Tesla accelerator ready later this year. The current generation of Tesla accelerators have been a huge success story for NVIDIA, so there's a great deal of interest in seeing how NVIDIA will keep up that momentum, especially in the face of stiff competition from all directions, from FPGA suppliers to Intel's Xe GPU family.

NVIDIA has decided to shift GTC 2020 on March 22-26 to an online event due to growing concern over the coronavirus.

This decision to move the event online instead of at the San Jose Convention Center reflects our top priority: the health and safety of our employees, our partners and our customers.

NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang will still deliver a keynote address, which will be available exclusively by livestream. We’re working to schedule that and will share details once they’re available.

We will be working with our conference speakers to begin publishing their talks online beginning in the weeks ahead. Please visit https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/gtc/ for updates.

Additionally, for those in NVIDIA’s developer program, we plan to schedule availability with our researchers, engineers and solution architects to answer technical questions.

Those who have registered for a GTC pass will receive a full refund. Stay tuned for details.

We’re grateful to the great many individuals and partners who have worked to support this event and thank them for their understanding during these unusual times.

Source: NVIDIA

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  • yeeeeman - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    What is the problem of doing it online? Why spend tons of money of moving lots of people to a place to write basically the same things on different web sites? Reply
  • limitedaccess - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    Products can be launched at conferences and the press/media can have access to conferences. The above is not the only function nor even primary reason for conferences in general.

    Nvidia's keynote speech with the speculated product launch is only a scheduled 2 hours of a planned 5 day conference. You can see the schedule of all the other activities that form the bulk of - https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/gtc/session-catalog-d...
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    GTC is a conference. People can meet other people at a conference. They can hear and have conversations. They can make personal connections. Interacting with an actual audience is much more exhilarating and pleasing than watching an online feed and typing in a scrolling chat. There can be workshops where people get hands on explanations. There is an opportunity for interest in an upcoming presentation to spread by word of mouth. People overall will be more focused and immersed by the environment. There are many things that can be done and communicated more effectively in person than on a web site or through a video lecture. Reply
  • jordanclock - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    I completely agree. I've been to a few conferences and the most significant sources of value to me were not the talks that ended up on YouTube a week later but from interacting with other industry professionals, businesses and workshops. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    We may be able to emulate some of the lost interpersonal interaction via various smaller meetings using online tools. There will still be a loss of spontaneous conversational benefits because of the need to schedule web conferences after the fact, but given COVID-19, it is not worth the risks right now.

    On top of that convention crud has been a thing for as long as we have been gathering in large, close-proximity groups so perhaps there are other ways of sharing information that we can develop or even cultural shifts that mitigate the loss of face-to-face interaction to make up some of the difference.
    Reply
  • AshlayW - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    Just because you live in your mum's basement, doesn't mean everyone else has to. Reply
  • Threska - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    Multilevel Universal Meeting Sensorama (MUMS) technology will be the next big thing. Reply
  • Threska - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    The Matrix had it right. Reply
  • drexnx - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    looks like this really puts the kibosh on the "Ampere at GTC" rumors that had been floating around Reply
  • p1esk - Monday, March 2, 2020 - link

    Pretty sure Ampere is going to be announced. Hopefully we'll also take a peek at Hopper. Reply

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