AMD announced today that it has agreed to acquire open-source AI software company Nod.ai to improve its open source AI capabilities. Nod.ai, founded in 2013, has developed a software ecosystem of developer tools, libraries, and models that speed the deployment of AI solutions for AMD's silicon, including its Ryzen AI chips for consumer PCs and EPYC CPUs, Radeon GPUs, and Versal processors for the data center. Nod.ai was recently valued at $36.5 million, but AMD hasn't disclosed the financial terms of its acquisition.
AMD has a healthy war chest of silicon for AI workloads, but Nvidia's CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) software platform has risen as the de facto industry standard for GPU programming, giving the company an advantage over its rivals that's proven hard to surmount. However, Nvidia's CUDA is proprietary and closed source, which stands in stark contrast to AMD's strategy of using open source solutions, like its ROCm (Radeon Open Compute) programming stack.
To create a more cohesive software portfolio, AMD has realigned its ROCm development under Victor Peng, the President of Adaptive and Embedded Computing Group at AMD. Peng was the CEO of FPGA-maker Xilinx, which AMD purchased for $35 billion in 2022, and his remit now includes assuring a unified programming model for all of AMD's various forms of compute.
Nod.ai's open source software meshes nicely with AMD's software software strategy, with its Shark compiler-based automation software speeding the deployment of AI models and runs on AMD's CPUs (Zen), GPUs (RDNA), and FPGAs (XDNA). Shark is a cross-platform Machine Learning Distribution that works in Windows, MacOS, and Linux. In fact, we recently used Nod.ai's Shark-based Stable Diffusion for testing in Windows with a broad range of AMD GPUs, but the software can scale all the way up to data center and hyperscaler applications as well.
“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 endpoint devices today."
The acquisition comes on the heels of AMD's recent purchase of Mipsology, an AI startup that focuses on inference. Nod.ai is a privately held company and lists 8Square Capital, Atlantic Bridge, Pointguard Ventures, and Walden International as investors. AMD hasn't released the financial terms of its acquisition, but we'll provide an update as more details emerge.
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Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.