California crop circle was Nvidia marketing stunt

The Salinas circle was part of the launch of the company's new Tegra K1 chip

Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun Huang confesses a California crop circle was a marketing stunt

Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun Huang confesses a California crop circle was a marketing stunt

An elaborate crop circle that appeared last week in a grain field in California was a stunt by chip-maker Nvidia.

"This is a confession," said Jen Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia during a news conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, before he explained how his company came to create the circle in a field of barley near the town of Salinas.

It was linked, he said, to his company's latest processor for mobile devices, the Tegra K1. Huang had minutes earlier introduced the chip, which packs 192 cores -- individual processing engines that handle complex mathematical calculations needed for 3-D modeling, simulations and computer gaming.

"I told the [engineers] that Tegra K1 is impossibly advanced, it's practically built by aliens," he said. "I want you guys to go out and launch this product, to put a marketing campaign behind it that rivals the technical contributions. I want you guys to go and do something that when we sit back will have global reach ... and you have zero budget."

(See Huang make his confession on YouTube video.)

The crop circle was the result of that challenge.

Huang said he first heard about the stunt when he saw coverage on CNN.

It garnered global attention and Huang gave special recognition to Michelle Imperato, a reporter with local TV station KSBW that cracked a hidden code inside the design: the number 192 spelled out in Braille.

"Well, of course it's 192 because the marketing team was very clever, ha ha. Tegra K1, 192 cores," he said.

Crop circles have been appearing in fields for decades. Their origin is usually a mystery and while many assume them to be man-made, some believe they might represent calling cards by by extra-terrestrial visitors.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Graphics boardsCESComponentsnvidiaprocessors

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?