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AMD acquires language model developer Silo AI for $665M

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. today announced plans to acquire Silo AI Oy, a Finland-based artificial intelligence developer that counts numerous large enterprises as customers.

The all-cash deal is worth about $665 million. The transaction is expected to close later this year, at which point AMD will fold Silo AI into its Artificial Intelligence Group. The unit is responsible for, among other products, the chipmaker’s MI300 machine learning accelerator series, which competes with Nvidia Corp.’s market-leading graphics cards.

Silo AI provides AI development and deployment services to large organizations. It can help an enterprise identify business tasks that could be automated with the help of AI. From there, Silo AI can train a custom language model capable of carrying out those tasks. It also develops other kinds of neural networks, such as computer vision algorithms for detecting faulty components on production lines. 

Building new AI models is not the company’s sole focus area. Silo AI can also take over the technical work involved in integrating a neural network with an organization’s other workloads and maintaining it over time. The company says that it has completed more than 200 AI projects to date for Allianz SE, Nokia Corp., Siemens AG and other large enterprises. 

Alongside its core services portfolio, Silo AI provides several prepackaged AI tools. The company collectively refers to those offerings as the Silo OS. The bundle includes development tools designed to ease enterprises’ internal machine learning initiatives, as well as AI applications for use cases such as document search.

Last year, Silo AI expanded its software portfolio with two open-source large language models. The first, Viking, understands English, Nordic languages and several programming syntaxes. In November, Silo AI debuted a more advanced LLM called Poro that has a similar feature set and about five times as many parameters.

The acquisition will see AMD gain not only Silo AI’s software portfolio but also its 300-person machine learning team. According to the companies, about a third of those staffers hold doctorate degrees. AMD told the Financial Times that Silo AI’s team will develop more open-source LLMs like Viking and Poro after the transaction closes.

According to the paper, the chipmaker also sees opportunities to improve the customer experience for companies that buy its processors. Building a large-scale AI cluster with hundreds of AI chips or more requires a significant amount of time and effort. By giving customers access to Silo AI’s machine learning know-how, AMD could potentially streamline the process. 

“Silo AI’s team of trusted AI experts and proven experience developing leadership AI models and solutions, including state-of-the-art LLMs built on AMD platforms, will further accelerate our AI strategy and advance the build-out and rapid implementation of AI solutions for our global customers,” said Vamsi Boppana, senior vice president of AMD’s Artificial Intelligence Group.

The chipmaker previously acquired Nod.ai, officially Nod Inc., the developer of an open-source AI tool called SHARK. The software is designed to accelerate the speed at which AI models can perform inference, or the task of analyzing production data. SHARK promises to provide up three times better inference performance than competing tools such as TensorFlow. 

Source: siliconangle.com

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