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Deutsche Bank backs Nvidia's bet to make big bucks on software

German financial giant aids GPU maker's vision of vertical integration

German financial giant Deutsche Bank is backing Nvidia's ambitions to someday make hundreds of billions from software that enables a variety of services and applications running on its GPUs.

The oft-controversial banking behemoth announced on Wednesday it has formed a "multi-year innovation partnership with Nvidia to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the financial services sector."  

With commercial software from Nvidia serving as an important aspect of the partnership, the deal reflects the GPU maker's hope to someday rake in hundreds of billions in revenue through software and services on top of the extra hundreds of billions it projects to get from chips and systems, as the company laid out in an investor meeting earlier this year.

This means if Nvidia's commercial software business catches on, the company will be much closer to its vision of becoming vertically integrated in high-value areas like AI computing, owning everything from the components like CPUs, GPUs and SmartNICs; to the systems; to the software and services.

The Silicon Valley firm will continue to rely a great deal on external companies for systems and software, particularly mainstream servers, PCs, and end-user apps.

But Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, has made it clear multiple times that he thinks of the chip designer now as a "datacenter-scale" and "full-stack computing" company. If Huang's vision is fully realized, Nvidia would have even more power and influence over the computing world than it does now with the pervasiveness of its proprietary CUDA parallel programming platform.

The deal with Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank didn't give any indication of how much it plans to spend on Nvidia's software and hardware, but the bank did call the partnership "an integral part" of the 153-year-old financial institution's "ongoing technology transformation."

"AI, ML and data will be a game changer in banking, and our partnership with Nvidia is further evidence that we are committed to redefining what is possible for our clients," Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank's CEO, said in the canned statement.

As part of the partnership, Deutsche Bank will tap into two of Nvidia's commercial software services. The first is Nvidia AI Enterprise, a suite of AI tools and frameworks meant to take the guesswork out of developing and running GPU-accelerated applications in containers and virtual machines, whether they're running in the cloud or on-premises.

Deutsche Bank said it plans to use AI Enterprise to speed up the development and management of models for risk management while also improving energy efficiency.

The second piece of commercial software is Nvidia Omniverse Enterprise, a suite of code for creating 3D spaces and operating large-scale digital simulations, though the GPU maker is happily using the buzzy term "metaverse" to describe it.

Deutsche Bank is using Omniverse Enterprise to develop a 3D virtual avatar that is meant to help employees "navigate internal systems and response to HR-related questions." (Oh, joy.) The bank is also exploring the possibility of creating "immersive experiences" for banking clients.

The bank also plans to work with Nvidia to develop large language machine learning models called "financial transformers" that will be used, among other things, to detect early warning signs of problematic transactions, identify data quality issues, and enable faster data retrieval.

Given Deutsche Bank's reputation for becoming embroiled in controversies, the financial institution at least seems aware of the potential pitfalls of AI, so the bank said it will "develop, foster and promote explainable and responsible AI to expand the understanding of model predictions" as part of an expansion the bank is making with Nvidia for an internal AI center of excellence. ®

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