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Oct 10 (Reuters) – AMD said on Tuesday it plans to buy an artificial intelligence startup called Nod.ai as part of an effort to boost its software capabilities.
In a race to catch rival chipmaker Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices plans to invest heavily in critical software needed for the company’s advanced AI chips. Through more than a decade of work, Nvidia has gained a powerful advantage in the AI chip market through the software and software developer ecosystem it has built.
AMD has vowed to invest in and build an integrated collection of software to power the various chips the company makes.
“We are executing on that strategy,” AMD President Victor Peng said in an interview with Reuters. “And doing it through internal investments as well as external acquisitions.”
The acquisition of Nod.ai fits the strategy because its technology enables companies to deploy AI models that are more easily tuned to AMD’s chips. Nod.ai sells its technology to large data center operators, among other customers.
AMD did not disclose terms of the deal. Santa Clara, California-based Nod.ai has raised about $36.5 million, according to PitchBook data.
Earlier this year, AMD created the AI group that will acquire Nod.ai, Peng said. The group employs about 1,500 engineers – the majority of whom are software-related – and AMD plans to continue expanding the team with 300 additional hires this year, and even more in 2024.
“We are moving quickly with plans for next year,” said Vamsi Boppana, senior vice president of the Artificial Intelligence Group at AMD.
The acquisition of Nod.ai is the company’s second acquisition in the past few months, Peng said. Asked if the company planned to strengthen its portfolio with additional acquisitions, Peng said, “We’re always looking.” (Reporting by Max A. Cherney in San Francisco; Editing by Lincoln Feist.)