Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), the renowned chipmaker, recently acquired Nod.ai, a provider of open-source AI software. This strategic acquisition aims to reinforce AMD’s commitment to building a robust ecosystem of AI development tools, libraries, and models that complement its hardware.
The transaction details remain undisclosed, but the acquisition is anticipated to conclude this quarter, as reported by CNBC.
The union of AMD and Nod.ai signifies a significant step towards enhancing the capabilities of AMD’s AI software ecosystem.
Boosting Capabilities and Accelerating Growth
According to AMD’s SVP, Vamsi Boppana, the acquisition of Nod.ai will “significantly” enhance AMD’s ability to provide customers with software that enables them to deploy high-performance AI models tuned for AMD hardware effortlessly. Boppana expressed his excitement about adding the talented Nod.ai team, stating that this move would accelerate AMD’s 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 many endpoint devices today. This acquisition is expected to enhance AMD’s AI capabilities further.
Nod.ai: A Brief Overview
Nod.ai, headquartered in Santa Clara, was co-founded in 2013 by Anush Elangovan and Harsh Menon. Elangovan, a former member of the first Chromebooks team at Google and a lead engineer at Cisco is the CEO of Nod.ai. Conversely, Menon had previously worked at Kitty Hawk, the now-defunct electric aircraft company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page.
Initially, Nod.ai aimed to build gaming-focused devices for gesture recognition and motion tracking. However, it pivoted to AI model tooling, creating modules to reduce the need for AI developers to manually optimize and deploy AI models to run across data center and edge machines, including AMD-powered devices.
AMD’s rival, Nvidia, offers similar software-based solutions for accelerating AI models. However, these solutions are primarily closed-source, proprietary, and designed to work with the company’s GPUs.
Financials and Future Prospects
Before the AMD acquisition, Nod.ai had raised over $20 million in venture funding from Atlantic Bridge, Square Capital, PointGuard Ventures, and Walden International. Alameda Research, the cryptocurrency firm co-led by FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, reportedly participated in a Nod.ai funding round. However, Elangovan refuted these claims in December in an interview with the Financial Times.
As part of the acquisition, Nod.ai will join the AI group that AMD established earlier this year. The group currently employs about 1,500 engineers. It is expected to expand by approximately 300 employees by the end of the year as AMD strives to keep pace with Nvidia in the rapidly growing market for AI chips.