AMD is taking on Nvidia by acquiring Nod.AI
- AMD is acquiring Nod.ai to improve its open-source AI capabilities.
- The acquisition is part of the company’s “AI growth strategy.”
- The acquisition is anticipated to be completed within the current quarter.
The rivalry between Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (AMD) and Nvidia Corp dates back decades — even before the former bought ATI for its graphics division. Today, they’re still battling it out as the top two graphic cardmakers for gaming PCs, but that’s not where the rivalry ends.
Both companies’ primary focus is now shifting to AI, and the competition has never been more fierce. Although Nvidia dominates the market today with its AI chips, AMD is becoming a strong challenger as it does more to intensify the rivalry.
Nvidia holds a dominant position in the market for high-performance chips used in the development of ChatGPT and the AI services that have surged in popularity across the tech industry in 2023. That surge in demand following ChatGPT’s frenzy has propelled Nvidia’s market capitalization beyond US$1 trillion. But the surge was so strong and so sudden that the need for Nvidia’s AI chips has led to a supply shortage, which the company has acknowledged and is actively addressing.
AMD is using the shortage to actively narrow the AI gap on Nvidia, announcing its most recent move this week. AMD is acquiring open-source AI software company Nod.ai – a move made to expand the company’s open AI software capabilities. The US-based chip giant said the agreement strongly aligns with its AI growth strategy centered on an open software ecosystem that lowers the barriers of entry for customers through developer tools, libraries, and models.
“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 center accelerators, Ryzen™ AI processors, EPYC™ processors, Versal™ SoCs and Radeon™ GPUs to AMD,” the company explained.
Nod.AI, or Nod Labs, builds open-source technologies “for future AI systems,” according to the startup. It mainly specializes in reinforcement learning, a type of system that “learns” via trial and error. The acquisition is expected to close this quarter, an AMD spokesperson told CNBC.
“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 Nod.ai’s co-founder and CEO Anush Elangovan. “By joining forces with AMD, we will bring this expertise to a broader range of customers on a global scale.”
Adding to Elangovan’s context, Nod.ai delivers optimized AI solutions to top hyperscalers, enterprises, and startups. The compiler-based automation software capabilities of Nod.ai’s SHARK software reduce the need for manual optimization and the time required to deploy highly performing AI models to run across a broad portfolio of the data center, edge and client platforms powered by AMD CDNA™, XDNA™, RDNA™ and “Zen” architectures.
AMD believes that acquiring Nod.ai will significantly enhance its ability to provide AI customers with open software to deploy highly performing AI models tuned for AMD hardware quickly. Vamsi Boppana, senior vice president of the Artificial Intelligence Group at AMD, said, “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.”
Boppana sees an advantage in the sheer fact that Nod.ai’s technologies are already widely deployed in the cloud, at the edge, and across a broad range of endpoint devices today. The news of the acquisition came on the heels of the company’s purchase of French startup Mipsology to strengthen its AI inference software capabilities.
On August 24, the California-based chip giant unveiled the acquisition, saying that Mipsology, “a leader in AI software and long-standing AMD partner,” will help the company “accelerate our customer engagements and expand our AI software development capabilities.” Boppana, in a statement, wrote, “The team will help develop our full AI software stack, expanding our open ecosystem of software tools, libraries, and models to pave the way for streamlined deployment of AI models running on AMD hardware.”
Both acquisitions are part of AMD’s larger strategy to challenge Nvidia’s dominance in the AI computing space with a broad portfolio of what AMD chair and CEO Lisa Su has called “leadership GPUs, CPUs, and adaptive computing solutions for AI inferencing and training.”
In fact, since last year, Su and other executives have articulated a comprehensive AI strategy that addresses what she said is a “multibillion-dollar growth opportunity across cloud, edge, and an increasingly diverse number of intelligent endpoints.”
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