Saved by the Spell: Serkan Piantino’s Company Makes AI for Everyone

by Lauren Finkle

Spell, founded by Serkan Piantino, is making machine learning as easy as ABC.

Piantino, CEO of the New York-based startup and former director of engineering for Facebook AI Research, explained to AI Podcast host Noah Kravitz how he’s bringing compute power to those that don’t have easy access to GPU clusters.

Spell provides access to hardware as well as a software interface that accelerates execution. Piantino reported that a wide variety of industries has shown interest in Spell, from healthcare to retail, as well as researchers and academia.

Key Points From This Episode

  • Spell’s basic tool is a command line, which has users type “spell run” before code that they previously would’ve run locally. Spell will then snapshot the code, find any necessary data and move that computation onto relevant hardware in the cloud.
  • Spell’s platform provides a collaborative workspace in which clients within an organization can work together on their Jupyter Notebooks and Labs.
  • Users can choose what type of GPU they require for their machine learning experiment, and Spell will run it on the corresponding hardware in the cloud.


“You know there’s some upfront cost to running an experiment, but if you get that cost down low enough, it disappears mentally” — Serkan Piantino [11:52]

“Providing access to hardware and making things easier — giving everybody the same sort of beautiful compute cluster that giant research organizations work on — was a really powerful idea” — Serkan Piantino [18:36]

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