NVIDIA's push into deep learning and artificial intelligence markets is is paying off in a big way. As a result of its ongoing investments into data center GPUs, the company was able to rake in $1.94 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 48 percent from $1.3 billion in same quarter a year ago. After paying the bills, NVIDIA was left with a profit of $507 million, up a whopping 144 percent from last year.
"The AI revolution is moving fast and continuing to accelerate," said Jensen Huang, founder and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "NVIDIA's GPU deep learning platform is the instrument of choice for researchers, internet giants and startups as they invent the future.
"Our data center GPU computing business nearly tripled from last year, as more of the world's computer scientists engage deep learning. One industry after another is awakening to the power of GPU deep learning and AI, the most important technology force of our time."
NVIDIA's data center revenue has shown steady gains over the past several quarters. It has grown from a modest $72 million in the second quarter of 2016 to an impressive $409 million in the most recent quarter. That has not been by accident. The GPU maker put a heavy emphasis on deep learning and AI during the past two GPU Technology Conference (GTC) events, underscoring its ability to recognize fast growing markets early on. And more recently NVIDIA committed to training 100,000 developers through its Deep Learning Institute in 2017.
The GPU maker has also seen steady growth in the automotive sector. As the industry transitions towards autonomous vehicles and smart edutainment functions, NVIDIA has been able to adapt its business and capitalize on what automakers need. Driven largely by its Drive PX 2 self-driving platform used by Tesla, NVIDIA's auto division pulled in $140 million during Q1, up from $113 million in the same quarter a year ago.
All that said, NVIDIA's bread and butter continues to be gaming. Its gaming products outpaced all of NVIDIA's other divisions combined with over $1 billion in revenue, up from $687 million in the same quarter a year ago. NVIDIA has benefited from a lack of competition in the high-end graphics card segment where its top shelf Pascal cards (GeForce GTX 1070 on up) dominate.
Investors reacted positively to NVIDIA's performance this past quarter. Shares of the GPU maker are up more than 14 percent at $177.50 percent per share at the time of this writing.