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It takes big business to make Nvidia's Omniverse tangible

Amazon, Pepsi, Siemens and more go for digitally twinned ops

GTC Nvidia is investing mightily in the concept of "digital twins" or large-scale simulations that illuminate real-world processes. This week at the company's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) they demonstrated how several high-profile companies are bringing digital twins into production via their all-encompassing Omniverse hardware and software platforms.

Nvidia showed off a number of new products and features for its Omniverse digital twinning platform at GTC. Included in the list of updates was Omniverse Cloud, as well as the new Nvidia OVX systems designed for building such worlds. 

Alongside announcements were several demonstrations of Omniverse implementations from companies including Amazon, Siemens Gamesa, Kroger, Pepsi and Lowes. The basics of each setup was the same, but the purposes and goals varied greatly.

Siemens Gamesa digitally twins wind farms

Siemens Gamesa, the wind energy subsidiary of Siemens Energy, already has thousands of wind turbines located around the world.

Using Omniverse and Modulus, Nvidia's framework for physics-based machine learning networks, Siemens Gamesa built models of its wind farms to maximize their efficiency. In particular, the company was trying to find a way to better model the wake effect produced by added turbines. 

Wake effects generated by newly placed turbines can disrupt the flow of air and make an entire farm less productive. Current wake effect simulation methods on a 100-CPU cluster can still take more than a month to run, Nvidia said. 

Using Omniverse sped Siemens Gamesa's wake effect simulations by 4,000x, Nvidia claimed. 

Kroger builds an Omniverse research lab

Midwestern US-based grocery chain Kroger is partnering with Nvidia to build "a state-of-the-art AI lab and demonstration center to expand Kroger's freshness initiatives, improve shipping logistics and create a better shopping experience," Nvidia said

The lab will be located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and will use Nvidia Omniverse Enterprise running on nine Nvidia DGX A100 systems with Nvidia's InfiniBand networking and RTX-capable workstations. 

Kroger's particular goals for its Omniverse project include identifying early indicators of food spoilage using computer vision and analytics, using dynamic routing for last-mile inventory delivery and optimizing store processes.

Amazon, Pepsi and Lowes

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Amazon VP of engineering and robotics, Parris Wellman, said that Omniverse digital twins were a key part of its move to deploy "hundreds of thousands of mobile drive robots" that enabled it to condense warehouse storage into pods that could be stacked far more densely than if humans were responsible for retrieving items.

Wellman said that Amazon has built digital twins of its warehouses that allow it to optimize warehouse design, train more efficient robots, and make Amazon's entire fulfillment process smoother.

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PepsiCo used digital twinning to simulate its distribution centers with the key goal of improving efficiency and sustainability. PepsiCo said it built simulations of its packaging centers to determine the most efficient layout and make additional changes virtually before investing in physical changes. 

"When we're looking at new products and processes, we will use digital twins to simulate and test models and environments in real time before applying changes to the physical distribution centers," "said Qi Wang, vice president of research and development at PepsiCo.

Lowe's is using Omniverse at its Innovation Labs to "unlock the next generation of its stores," which it said involves removing friction points for customers and employees. ®

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