AMPD Ventures (AMPD.C) high performance computing power attracts Artificial Intelligence contract

02/07/2020

AMPD Ventures (AMPD.C), which recently topped up its bank account to bring in more sales folks, announced some sales today, with a news release pointing to a new contract with an artificial intelligence company.

AMPD Ventures Inc. has signed a deal with Variational AI Inc. to supply machine-learning infrastructure hosted at AMPD’s DC1 sustainable data centre. Variational AI is the developer of Enki, an artificial intelligence-powered small molecule discovery service designed to help discover new molecules for pharma research.

The needs of AI and machine learning (among other things) have long been vaunted as precisely the market AMPD looks to fill; that being companies with higher powered computing needs than can be happily performed on legacy cloud systems like Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Investors will want to know how big a deal this is, so while the Variational AI website doesn’t offer up much information about their business, a November article on BioWebTrends.com dives deeper:

The organizing principle of Variational AI is that the exponentially growing cost of drug discovery can only be halted if the pharmaceutical industry shifts the paradigm by which it searches the space of molecules. Variational AI has developed a machine learning algorithm that organizes the full space of 10^60 drug-like molecules based upon their pharmacological properties rather than their chemical structure, enabling state-of-the-art [Quantitative Structure-Activity relationship (QSAR)] and transformative multi-property inverse QSAR/QSPR. They use sophisticated deep learning to build a nonlinear ligand-based pharmacophore, which implicitly accounts for induced fit, solvation, entropic effects, and multiple binding domains.

Ya got that?

Science, people.

They’re doing science, and they need a heavy GPU computing platform upon which to do it.

They chose AMPD.

“For the type of computing we need, GPUs are the only option,” said Variational AI co-founder and chief executive officer Handol Kim. “AMPD was able to understand what we are trying to achieve and simply had the best solution on the market for our needs. We are starting off with a 16-GPU system hosted at AMPD’s DC1 data centre and we expect to grow to 128 GPUs during the rest of 2020. AMPD was able to meet our needs today and, for the foreseeable future, with their scalable platform and understanding of how GPUs are used for artificial intelligence applications.”

Previously announced customers for AMPD’s DC1 complex include Bardel Entertainment, which provides animation and video render for TV’s Rick and Morty, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Magic: The Gathering and others. The Bardel deal required CPU computing capacity rather than GPU, which points to another selling point for AMPD – their flexibility.

CEO Anthony Brown says the AI sector is right in their wheelhouse.

“Canada has been emerging as a global hub for artificial intelligence technologies, with over 150 AI/machine-learning start-ups based in Vancouver alone working across a range of application areas […] We look forward to addressing the needs of this sector with our GPU-based compute solutions.”

Previous to the Variational AI news, AMPD announced it had partnered with System73, a European video content technology platform that AMPD will rep locally, while System73 brings European representation to AMPD.

The two companies have entered into a letter of intent and intend to complete a definitive agreement in the near future. Under the terms of the agreement, it is expected that AMPD will promote, sell and support System73’s CDN solution across North America, helping to bolster System73’s global reach, and System73 will promote, sell and support AMPD’s HPC (high-performance computing) hosting platform to customers across Europe, helping to enhance AMPD’s presence in Europe in return.

System73 is no small deal, being as it’s partnered with CenturyLink, Verizon, CDNetworks, and Tata, among others.

AMPD stock has been horizontal for a while around $0.35 as investors wait for more news to drop, and for detail on the DC2 facility.

— Chris Parry

FULL DISCLOSURE: I own a shit ton of it.

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