10:55 | 28.04.22 | Interviews | exclusive 51447

Rev Lebaredyan: Armenia is a right place now for NVIDIA

The world's leading high-tech company NVIDIA opens an office in Yerevan and organized the first public event at Tumo.

The company’s invention of the GPU in 1999 sparked the growth of the PC gaming market, redefined modern computer graphics, and revolutionized parallel computing.

Itel.am spoke with the NVIDIA Armenia’s branch head Rev Lebaredian, Vice President of Omniverse and Simulation Technology.

NVIDIA Omniverse, a platform for real-time world simulation and 3D design collaboration, helps creators, developers, and engineers work together in shared virtual worlds, including creating digital twins of physical products and structures. Our Earth-2 supercomputer, dedicated to predicting climate change, will use Omniverse to create a digital twin of Earth.

How did you get into technology?

There are few things in my life that were very lucky or fortunate that led me to this moment here. First one was when my father bought me my first computer, I was six years old, and it was very strange at that time, this was in the early 80s. Nobody had computers in the US, they called him crazy for buying computer for a six year old and he told them “it is obvious that computers are going to be the most important thing, he should learn now’’. So I learned how to program.

Few years later I was reading a computer magazine and there was a picture in there that I could not understand. I was looking at it: is it a photograph, is it a drawing? What is it? I read the article, it said that this picture was created by computer program by an algorithm: I found love in it and this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life, because I always wanted to create images. People on my mother's side were very artistic, but I did not have that talent. But I still wanted to create images, but I knew how to program computers, so I can combine these two things together.

1993 was a very important year in Los Angeles. It is the year NVIDIA was founded, it is also the year the World Wide Web was created, it is also the year Jurassic Park came out, which was a very big deal, because that movie took computer graphics to a new level.  

I turned 18 in that year, so I could work and I got a job at Warner Brothers. And then I worked with Disney, where I wrote a render and a whole system to do the fur on a gorilla, and it was nominated for an Academy Award.

And then I started my own company called SteamBoat Software, where I created my own render that I licensed. After I did that, NVIDIA called me. They were about to introduce a new technology which was a secret then, but a new technology into our chips for the video games.

I thought I would only be there for a year, but then I learned that this is the best place in the world and stayed more than 20 years.

Why Armenia? What plans does NVIDIA have in Armenia?

There are two answers to that question. First, in NVIDIA the most valuable resource we have are people. The work that we do is the very edge of technology, things that are practically impossible. We take things that do not seem quite possible and make them possible. We do this by having the best people in the world. We look for them wherever they are, because there are enough of the best people. It is not enough to have just lots of people, we need to have people that are the best in these narrow areas of computing, computer graphics, simulation, and Artificial intelligence.

Armenia is a place now where it is right. There are other places that we have opened offices that I believe that Armenia can provide the same level today.

The other and the more personal part is that I am Armenian. This has been my dream to be able to bring this to Armenia, for me to be here more and to be able to help Armenia grow in this area.

What do you know about the Armenian IT sphere, ecosystem? What trends do you see here?

I have been coming to Armenia since 2005. I have been watching, talking to people who are doing things. Early on when I came to, it was mostly outsourcing kinds of companies, work they were doing. It is just not interesting to us in NVIDIA. We are not looking to go to some place, because it is cheaper, we are looking to go to a place that is the best. So I had to wait for there to be enough talent here for us to be able to justify doing this.

At the time, there were a lot of great Armenians in the world, who knew how to do this stuff, but unfortunately they were leaving, they were going to places like Silicon Valley or Europe.

But in recent years I started noticing that they are coming back and creating startups. For example, Krisp. David Baghdasaryan was in Silicon Valley for 7-8 years, and then he came back to Armenia and invested in Armenians here. I have seen that the same happened multiple times already, and that is the indicator that Armenia is getting ready.

On LinkedIn I posted about 93 jobs that we have here, within 24 hours we got many messages even from non-Armenians around the world that want to come and work in Armenia, even ex-NVIDIAns, who are interested in coming to work here.

What advice would you give to beginners, young guys, what is the formula for success?

Number one is you should be curious, always be trying to learn new things, to ask questions and go find out how things work. Number two, work really hard, put in more effort. It is not enough to just be smart or have a good potential, when you put an effort into it and combine it with curiosity then you will have something special.          

Nune Grigoryan talked to Rev Lebaredyan