A confluence of divergent, powerful trends have combined to make Nvidia the most valuable U.S. semiconductor company. Long a leader in making essential graphics chips for video games, it saw a 61% jump in revenue in its latest quarter, powered by the pandemic-fueled explosion of gaming. The Santa Clara, Calif.–based company also got a boost from surging interest in cryptocurrency as investors bought powerful Nvidia chips to help “mine” digital currencies. Now the company is emerging as a key player in super-computing and AI, resulting in perhaps the most significant use of the company’s chips: in October, Nvidia unveiled a partnership with drug giant GSK to team up on using AI-powered computation to speed the drug and vaccine discovery process. In January, it struck a deal with Chinese EV maker NIO to supply chips to develop autonomous vehicles.
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