NVIDIA, GE Healthcare Strike Deal on AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the next big thing for over a year now, and there are still new worlds to conquer for AI software and hardware. Industry leader NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) pushed its AI computing platform into the health care sector on Sunday in a joint announcement with General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) Healthcare segment.

GE will use NVIDIA’s AI platform in its global installed base of 500,000 imaging devices. GE expects AI to deliver both improved speed and accuracy of image processing. The company’s new Revolution Family CT (computerized axial tomography) machine using NVIDIA AI has received U.S. FDA approval and is expected to deliver better clinical outcomes in liver lesion detection and kidney lesion characterization because of its speed.

NVIDIA’s graphics processing units (GPUs) that power high-end video displays and the company has simplified the design of the GPU into a real-time device it calls the Tensor RT that is widely used for AI applications because of its high speed.

NVIDIA’s GPUs are also favored among the bitcoin mining community. Mining for bitcoin and other virtual currencies is the only way to increase the amount of the currency available to sell. But mining requires enormous computing power to dig back through the blockchains and false paths to the place where new currency can be discovered and — ultimately — sold on the various exchanges.

Depending on one’s point of view, health care is likely to be around longer than bitcoin and its rivals, so opening a new market for NVIDIA’s GPUs and accelerators is a positive for the company.

For GE, it cements the company’s commitment to its Healthcare segment at a time when GE is trying to slim down its businesses and workforce in an effort to get back in investors’ good graces. GE Healthcare’s CEO and president, Kieran Murphy, said:

By partnering with NVIDIA, GE Healthcare will be able to deliver devices of the future – intelligent machines capable of empowering providers to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnoses for patients around the world.

If GE in fact does pare down its assets to include its Power, Aviation and Healthcare segments, that’s only the first step to a comeback. The venerable giant has to prove that it’s “in it to win it.” Failing at something when a conglomerate has 20 businesses is one thing; when there are just three businesses it’s a different thing altogether.

NVIDIA’s shares traded down about 0.5% early Monday, at $215.90 in a 52-week range of $84.77 to $218.67.

GE stock traded up about 1.2% to $18.42, in a 52-week range of $17.46 to $32.38. It’s worth noting that GE also announced a deal this morning with Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) to deploy network edge and cloud solutions for digital imaging applications. This appears to be complementary to the NVIDIA deal — no mention of AI in the press announcement and it would surely be there if it applied.