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Thursday, April 26, 2018
AMD Zen CPU Architect Jim Keller Joins Intel


Former AMD Chip architect Jim Keller has joined Intel and has become the senior vice president of the company's silicon engineering, which encompasses system-on-chip (SoC) development and integration.

Following its career at AMD, where he worked on the original Athlon architecture, K7, and then served as a lead architect on K8, he later joined Apple to develop the firm's A4 and A5 SoCs. He then joined AMD again in 2012 to develop the firm's Zen architecture.

Keller's latest position was at Tesla, where he developed self-driving AI processors.

"I had a great experience working at Tesla, learned a lot, and look forward to all the great technology coming from Tesla in the future. My lifelong passion has been developing the world's best silicon products," Keller said. "The world will be a very different place in the next decade as a result of where computing is headed. I am excited to join the Intel team to build the future of CPUs, GPUs, accelerators and other products for the data-centric computing era."

During that most recent period at AMD, and at Apple, Keller worked with Raja Koduri, who also left AMD in December 2017 and popped up at Intel in January.

At his new position at Intel, Keller will actually be working with Koduri and report to Venkata (Murthy) M. Renduchintala, group president of the Client and Internet of Things Businesses and Systems Architecture and chief engineering officer at Intel.

Also this month, Sr. Director, Global Product Marketing, Chris Hook, left AMD after 20 years of service, and is now at Intel, working with Koduri.

Keller's departure is a hit for Tesla's struggling Autopilot division. Tesla Autopilot head Sterling Anderson quit Tesla at the end of 2016. His replacement was Chris Lattner, who had previously created the Swift programming language at Apple. But Lattner only lasted six months before departing last June. Now Lattner's replacement, Jim Keller, is leaving Tesla as well.

Keller has been working for Tesla to develop custom silicon for Autopilot, potentially replacing the Nvidia chips being used in today's Tesla vehicles.

Keller's departure also comes just weeks after the death of a Model X driver in Mountain View, California. Tesla has said Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.

Kellerwill be succeeded by Pete Bannon, a Tesla executive who previously oversaw chip development at Apple, Tesla said.



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