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Jim Keller Resigns from Intel

Intel today announced that systems designer-extraordinaire Jim Keller has departed the company citing personal reasons. Whether or not this is a blow to Intel likely depends on how far Jim Keller brought their Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group throughout his two-year tenure at the company whilst serving as its Vice President. The semiconductor and chip architecture world isn't being driven by Mr. Keller himself, obviously; there are a number of architects and designers that bring the industry forward through their concerted efforts. However, it's hard to look past Jim Keller's pedigree when it comes to doing his job - if anything, AMD's Zen architecture is a testament to that, and has put Intel in the place we now see it in the CPU world.

To fill in the void, Intel has announced a reshuffling inside their Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group. Jim Keller will still be serving with Intel for the next six months as a consultant, thus easing the transition. Read the full press-release below.

Hot Chips 2020 Program Announced

Today the Hot Chips program committee officially announced the August conference line-up, posted to hotchips.org. For this first-ever live-streamed Hot Chips Symposium, the program is better than ever!

In a session on deep learning training for data centers, we have a mix of talks from the internet giant Google showcasing their TPUv2 and TPUv3, and a talk from startup Cerebras on their 2nd gen wafer-scale AI solution, as well as ETH Zurich's 4096-core RISC-V based AI chip. And in deep learning inference, we have talks from several of China's biggest AI infrastructure companies: Baidu, Alibaba, and SenseTime. We also have some new startups that will showcase their interesting solutions—LightMatter talking about its optical computing solution, and TensTorrent giving a first-look at its new architecture for AI.
Hot Chips

Intel Hires Former AMD GPU Silicon Executive

Intel's latest talent acquisition from rival AMD, as it builds a GPU product lineup, is Masooma Bhaiwala. "After 15+ amazing years at AMD, I have decided to take on a different opportunity... It was a truly fun ride, with an incredible team, during which we built some truly cool chips," she wrote in a LinkedIn post. According to her profile, Bhaiwala takes the role of Vice President, discrete GPU SoCs, and works under Intel's Graphics and Throughput Computing Hardware Engineering group headed by Raja Koduri.

Koduri's team has been a glassdoor for former AMD executives and tech-leads. While it has hired engineering talent such as Balaji Kanigicherla, Kalyan Thumaty and Joseph Facca; it has simultaneously lost client-graphics marketing talent, with the likes of Chris Hook, Heather Lennon, and Jon Carvill waltzing out of the company in less than a year of their association. Besides Koduri's Intel's most priced tech talent acquisition is Jim Keller, who is working on a future high-IPC CPU core design for the company. While working for AMD, Keller's "Zen" microarchitecture coupled with CEO Lisa Su's leadership have scripted one of the biggest turnarounds in Silicon Valley.

Intel's Foveros-based, Hybrid x86 CPUs Mean the Company Needed to Sprinkle some ARM

Intel at its architecture day revealed one of the more exquisite in-house designs for the company in recent years: a hybrid x86 chip that seems to imbibe from ARM's own big.Little design mantra. The new Hybrid x86 CPU that was announced takes this design choice in pairing a single, high-performance Sunny Cove core with four smaller Atom cores. This chip is built using Intel's Foveros manufacturing technology, which means a 22FFL IO chip serves as an active interposer, connected via TSVs to a 10nm die that contains both types of cores. The tiny chips measures just 12 x 12 x 1 mm (144 mm²), and looks to reduce footprint even further by including a POP (package on package) memory design.

The new Intel design is aimed at low-power environments, with the chip having been designed to work on a 2 mW standby power ratio, with less than a 7 W of power - for a big.Little five-core design and a 64 EU design with Gen11 graphics core. Intel's Jim Keller said that the company is testing the intricacies and advantages of this design internally, so more products based on this manufacturing and packaging mantra could pop up sometime in the future.

Darren McPhee, Former Radeon Marketing Executive, Joins Intel's Discrete Graphics Division

Darren McPhee worked 12 years for ATI and AMD. When he left AMD in 2015, he was one of the company's top marketing managers. For the last three years he has worked for various companies, but the surprise has come with Intel recruiting him to occupy the position of Product Marketing Manager in its 'Discrete Graphics' group, one of the most interesting initiatives in the recent times.

This division is working hard to develop a new family of discrete graphics cards that will theoretically compete with AMD and NVIDIA solutions. Intel has been steadily growing, and in fact Intel already signed Raja Koduri, AMD GPU architect, in November 2017. This firm has been attracting more and more talent from an AMD: Koduri was followed by Jim Keller, Ryzen Architect, and Chris Hook, who led AMD's Radeon Technologies Group Marketing Departmen prior to his move to Intel. These hires certainly make it clear that Intel is taking an increasingly promising project very seriously. We will have to be patient, however, because the firm already indicated in SIGGRAPH 18 that it will have its first models ready in 2020.

Intel Acquires NetSpeed Systems for Chip Design and Interconnect Fabric IP

Intel today announced the acquisition of NetSpeed Systems, a San Jose, California-based provider of system-on-chip (SoC) design tools and interconnect fabric intellectual property (IP). Deal terms were not disclosed. NetSpeed's highly configurable and synthesizable offerings will help Intel more quickly and cost-effectively design, develop and test new SoCs with an ever-increasing set of IP. The NetSpeed team is joining Intel's Silicon Engineering Group (SEG) led by Jim Keller. NetSpeed co-founder and CEO, Sundari Mitra, will continue to lead her team as an Intel vice president reporting to Keller.
Intel is designing more products with more specialized features than ever before, which is incredibly exciting for Intel architects and for our customers. The challenge is synthesizing a broader set of IP blocks for optimal performance while reining in design time and cost. NetSpeed's proven network-on-chip technology addresses this challenge, and we're excited to now have their IP and expertise in-house.

Jim Keller, senior vice president and general manager of the Silicon Engineering Group at Intel

Intel Scores Another Top AMD Exec - Chris Hook Confirmed to Join Company

Chris Hook, the head of marketing at AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), who resigned from AMD a few weeks ago, joined Intel. Hook will hold the position of head of discrete graphics marketing, confirming rumors of Intel making heavy investments into the development of a discrete GPU that can double up as a super-scalar processor, enabling the company to compete with NVIDIA and AMD for slices of the AI and blockchain computing gold-rush, with PC gaming as a fallback market. Jim Keller, Raja Koduri, and Chris Hook make up key names from AMD to have joined Intel in recent times. Keller was the lead architect of AMD "Zen," who after a brief stint at Tesla, joined Intel earlier this month.

Ryzen Architect Jim Keller Joins Intel

Jim Keller, the VLSI guru who led the team behind AMD's spectacular comeback in the x86 processor market with "Zen," has reportedly quit his job at Tesla to join AMD's bête noire, Intel. Following his work on "Zen," Keller had joined Tesla to work on self-driving car hardware. Keller joins Raja Koduri at Intel, the other big former-AMD name, who led Radeon Technologies Group (RTG).

PC Perspective comments that big names like Keller and Koduri joining Intel could provide clues as to Intel's current state and the direction it's heading in. The company appears to be in a state of shake-up from a decade of complacency and lethargy in its core business. Koduri could be putting together a team of people familiar to him for a new clean-slate project. The last time Intel had a clean slate was ten years ago, with "Nehalem."
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