AMD to buy AI software startup Nod.ai in a bid to catch up with rival chipmaker Nvidia
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced on Tuesday it plans to buy artificial intelligence (AI) startup Nod.ai as part of the effort to enhance its software capabilities. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, AMD said the acquisition will enable it to deploy AI models that are finely tuned for its chips.
The acquisition is also a strategic fit for AMD as the company takes on rival chipmaker Nvidia, which currently controls about 80% of the AI chip market. With this deal, AMD will also be able to leverage Nod.ai technology to deploy AI models that are tuned for AMD’s chips more easily. Nod.ai sells its technology to large data center operators. This marks AMD’s second acquisition in recent months, signaling its commitment to bolstering its AI chip software.
The Santa Clara, California-based Nod.ai was founded a decade ago by CEO Anush Elangovan. The startup develops machine learning systems using MLIR-based compilers, advanced GPUs, and kernels for seamless ML model deployment.
Prior to founding Nod.ai, Elangovan worked on the first Google ARM Chromebook and was part of the Agnilux team that became the foundation of the ChromeOS team at Google. According to PitchBook data, Nod.ai has raised about $36.5 million in total funding.
In the competitive race to keep up with chipmaker Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is set to make substantial investments in the crucial software needed for its advanced AI chips. Nvidia has spent over a decade building a strong foothold in the AI chip market through its software and developer ecosystem, giving it a significant advantage. AMD has committed to investing in and developing a comprehensive collection of software to drive its various chip offerings.
“We are executing to that strategy,” AMD president Victor Peng told Reuters in an interview. “And doing it through internal investment as well as external acquisitions.”
Earlier this year, AMD established an AI group to integrate the Nod.ai acquisition. The group, consisting of approximately 1,500 engineers, the majority focused on software development, is set to expand further with the addition of 300 new hires in 2023, with plans for continued growth in 2024.
“We have been growing rapidly, with plans for next year as well,” Vamsi Boppana, senior vice president, the Artificial Intelligence Group at AMD said. When asked if the company planned to bolster its portfolio with additional acquisitions Peng said, “We’re always looking.”