Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is to acquire an AI startup in an effort to expand “open AI software capabilities.”

AMD announced that it is acquiring Santa Clara, California-based Nod.ai for an undisclosed amount – although Nod AI has has previously raised approximately $36.5m since it was founded back in 2013.

The acquisition comes as AMD and Nvidia continue their intense competition, which has expanded from the GPU segment into AI.

AI competition

In July this year research from MosaicML found AMD’s GPU accelerators were about 80 percent as fast as those from market leader Nvidia and had a path to achieving equivalent performance.

Nvidia dominates the market for chips used in training AIs, with more than an 80 percent share, a position that has caused its market valuation to skyrocket this year amidst a wave of interest in the technology spurred by OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

But AMD is increasingly seen as a viable competitor and its MI300 silicon released earlier this year is viewed as potentially a direct rival to Nvidia’s top-end H100.

Nod.ai acquisition

Now AMD has confirmed a definitive agreement to acquire Nod.ai to expand the company’s open AI software capabilities.

It said the addition of Nod.ai will bring an experienced team that has developed an industry-leading software technology that accelerates the deployment of AI solutions optimized for AMD Instinct data centre accelerators, Ryzen AI processors, EPYC processors, Versal SoCs and Radeon GPUs to AMD.

“The acquisition of Nod.ai is expected to significantly enhance our ability to provide AI customers with open software that allows them to easily deploy highly performant AI models tuned for AMD hardware,” said Vamsi Boppana, senior vice president, Artificial Intelligence Group at AMD.

“The addition of the talented Nod.ai team accelerates our ability to advance open-source compiler technology and enable portable, high-performance AI solutions across the AMD product portfolio. Nod.ai’s technologies are already widely deployed in the cloud, at the edge and across a broad range of end point devices today,” Boppana added.

“At Nod.ai, we are a team of engineers focused on problem solving – quickly – and moving at pace in an industry of constant change to develop solutions for the next set of problems,” said Anush Elangovan, co-founder and CEO, Nod.ai. “By joining forces with AMD, we will bring this expertise to a broader range of customers on a global scale.”

Data centre solution

Nod.AI is an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems company that delivers optimised AI solutions to top hyperscalers, enterprises and startups.

The compiler-based automation software capabilities of Nod.ai’s SHARK software apparently reduces the need for manual optimisation and the time required to deploy AI models to run across a broad portfolio of data centre, edge and client platforms.

Reuters reported that AMD will transfer Nod.ai into its AI division created earlier this year.

The group employs about 1,500 engineers – the vast majority are software related – and AMD plans to continue to expand the team with 300 additional hires this year, and more in 2024.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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