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AMD to snap up Finnish startup Silo AI for $665m

The purchase of the Finnish AI startup comes amid a push from AMD to build its own ecosystem of AI products trained and run on its semiconductors.

By Greg Noone

AMD has announced its acquisition of Silo for $665m. The semiconductor company said its purchase of the Finnish AI startup would allow it to deliver on its ambitions to provide end-to-end AI solutions. AMD added that it expects the acquisition to be finalised in the second half of 2024, and that Silo’s chief executive and co-founder, Peter Sarlin, would continue to lead the firm as part of AMD’s Artificial Intelligence Group.

“Across every industry, enterprises are looking for fast and effective ways to develop and deploy AI solutions for their unique business needs,” said the group’s chief, senior vice-president Vamsi Boppana. “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.”

The corporate logo of AMD atop one of its office buildings.
AMD has announced its acquisition of the Finnish startup Silo AI for over $650m. (Photo: Shutterstock)

AMD building own AI ecosystem

Marketing itself as ‘Europe’s largest private AI lab,’ Silo AI claims to employ over 300 engineers, solution architects and software developers. Founded in 2017 in Helsinki, the firm delivers end-to-end AI solutions to corporate customers including Rolls-Royce, Unilever and Allianz, as well as multilingual LLMs. Notable among these is Poro, a family of LLMs trained using a vast corpus of English and Scandinavian languages on a European supercomputer powered by AMD GPUs

AMD’s acquisition of Silo AI comes as part of the semiconductor company’s bid to expand its influence within the AI marketplace as it seeks to build an ecosystem of products and services in the field powered by its chips. The former claims to have invested $125m in various AI companies in the pursuit of this goal, while also acquiring startups Nod.ai and Mipsology over the past year. 

Rivalry with Nvidia continues to rumble on

In so doing the firm would be imitating its rival, Nvidia, the pre-eminent supplier of GPUs to AI developers. Recent years have seen the firm become wildly successful in this respect, encouraging (or, as its critics would have it, “locking in”) customers to build several layers of AI products trained on its chips using its proprietary programming language for its GPUs, Cuda.

Silo AI’s purchase is not the only investment AMD has made to outflank rival Nvidia. In May, the semiconductor company was one of several big tech firms to sponsor the creation of ‘UALink,’ a uniform communications standard for AI accelerators. AMD has also invested heavily in developing AI chips and helped develop Triton, a coding language rival to Cuda that allows companies to run models on non-Nvidia semiconductors. 

Read more: AMD will bake AI into its future chip designs

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