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Intel's Jim Keller Resigns, Will Assist With Transition

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Intel announced today that famed chip architect and lead silicon engineer Jim Keller will leave the company, effective today, due to unspecified personal reasons. Intel's press release clarifies that Keller will stay on with the company as a consultant for a six month period to help with the transition to a new leadership team. 

Keller is known as a leader of transformational efforts, and his depth of experience designing heterogeneous architectures played well to Intel's move towards multi-chip processor designs. In tandem with Raja Keller and Murthy Renduchintala, Keller was responsible for designing and aligning Intel's silicon portfolio under a new six pillar strategy that plays to the strengths of the company's IP.

Keller is known for relatively short stints at companies, typically leading turnaround efforts for roughly two years before moving on to other challenges. He served as Intel's senior vice president in the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG) and general manager of the Silicon Engineering Group (SEG),

Given the long lead times in the chip design process and manufacturing, designs can take several years to come to market. That means that Keller's legacy will live on in a string of products that will mostly come to market long after his exit. For instance, his efforts on the Zen architecture didn't debut until he left the company.

Intel says that Keller will assist in a transition period over the next six months as it realigns its leadership under the following structure: 

·         Sundari Mitra, the former CEO and founder of NetSpeed Systems and the current leader of Intel’s Configurable Intellectual Property and Chassis Group, will lead a newly created IP Engineering Group focused on developing best-in-class IP.

·         Gene Scuteri, an accomplished engineering leader in the semiconductor industry, will head the Xeon and Networking Engineering Group.

·         Daaman Hejmadi will return to leading the Client Engineering Group focused on system-on-chip (SoC) execution and designing next-generation client, device and chipset products. Hejmadi has over two decades of experience leading teams delivering advanced SoCs both inside and outside of Intel.

·         Navid Shahriari, an experienced Intel leader, will continue to lead the Manufacturing and Product Engineering Group, which is focused on delivering comprehensive pre-production test suites and component debug capabilities to enable high-quality, high-volume manufacturing.

Jim Keller's hire was considered by many to be a coup for Intel, given that he has a long track record of success, including at Tesla, where he served as the Vice President of Autopilot and Low Voltage Hardware. Keller helped architect AMD's Zen microarchitecture while he was the company's corporate vice president and chief cores architect. Keller is also famous for designing AMD's successful K7 (Athlon) and K8 architectures. AMD's canceled K12 uArch was another of Keller's more famous projects, and he has also worked for Apple and helped develop the A4 and A5 processors.

  • Kamen Rider Blade
    I'm sure Jim Keller will always have a seat at AMD =D.

    He only needs to ask Lisa Su nicely and he'll be welcomed back with open arms.
    Reply
  • atomicWAR
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    I'm sure Jim Keller will always have a seat at AMD =D.

    He only needs to ask Lisa Su nicely and he'll be welcomed back with open arms.

    Yeah that may be true...though my guess is Intel made him sign a non-compete agreement. Won't last forever sure but I'd wager it is in effect for at least a couple years or more. So we won't see that move likely happen anytime soon.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    atomicWAR said:
    Yeah that may be true...though my guess is Intel made him sign a non-compete agreement. Won't last forever sure but I'd wager it is in effect for at least a couple years or more. So we won't see that move likely happen anytime soon.

    Last I checked, non-compete agreements are not legally binding.

    That said I do hope he's okay physically/mentally. He always had an uncanny ability to look at requirements data and figure out the best architectures to solve those problems. It's not so much thinking up new solutions as it is balancing your existing silicon to get the most overall performance for the next couple years. For example: Would a 10% AVX IPC improvement makes sense if it take 30% more silicon, 40% more power when only 2% of instructions use it?

    I have read papers about how certain people at Intel have a tendency to push you out if you don't play ball.

    Either way it doesn't matter. This will be a loss for Intel no matter which way it unfolds. I bet their stock will take a hit today.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    digitalgriffin said:
    Last I checked, non-compete agreements are not legally binding.

    That said I do hope he's okay physically/mentally. He always had an uncanny ability to look at requirements data and figure out the best architectures to solve those problems. It's not so much thinking up new solutions as it is balancing your existing silicon to get the most overall performance for the next couple years. For example: Would a 10% AVX IPC improvement makes sense if it take 30% more silicon, 40% more power when only 2% of instructions use it?

    I have read papers about how certain people at Intel have a tendency to push you out if you don't play ball.

    Either way it doesn't matter. This will be a loss for Intel no matter which way it unfolds. I bet their stock will take a hit today.
    Why would you even think that?!?
    From the article:"his depth of experience designing heterogeneous architectures" the sunny+tremont CPU was announced yesterday,you even said yourself that he has an uncanny ability to look at requirements data and figure out the best architectures to solve those problems.
    "Keller is known for relatively short stints at companies, typically leading turnaround efforts for roughly two years before moving on"
    Keller was hired 2 years ago,april 2018.
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-intel-jim-keller-hire,36963.htmlThere is zero reason for any movement in the stock price for completely normal and expected things that happen.
    Keller is known as a leader of transformational efforts, and his depth of experience designing heterogeneous architectures played well to Intel's move towards multi-chip processor designs. In tandem with Raja Keller and Murthy Renduchintala, Keller was responsible for designing and aligning Intel's silicon portfolio under a new six pillar strategy that plays to the strengths of the company's IP.



    Keller is known for relatively short stints at companies, typically leading turnaround efforts for roughly two years before moving on to other challenges. He served as Intel's senior vice president in the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG) and general manager of the Silicon Engineering Group (SEG),

    digitalgriffin said:
    Last I checked, non-compete agreements are not legally binding.
    Yeah but other companies are going to think really hard about hiring you if it gets out that you do stuff like that.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    TerryLaze said:
    Why would you even think that?!?

    Why would I think "they would suffer"? Look at what happened when Steve Jobs left. And Job was just a brilliant marketer, not an engineer.

    Keller is considered a very valuable chess piece to have on your board. His career is a testament as such.

    Because transformations aren't a one and done. Zen 2 had a lot of architectural changes over Zen 1. Zen 3 will have even more with a unified cache and IPC improvements. You have to aggressively keep at it. AMD did do this with 50% (Pile driver->Zen) ->12% (Zen ->Zen 2)-> rumored 15%+ IPC improvements (Zen 2->Zen 3).

    Intel has a history of making like 3->5% IPC improvements with each generation from Sandy Bridge. That's 11 years of taking no risk. They didn't like investing in new architectures that much. It will be interesting to see if they can keep the ball rolling. (Or if they can get past their foundry problems. They are starting to look like GloFo with their string of failures compared to TSMC)


    Yeah but other companies are going to think really hard about hiring you if it gets out that you do stuff like that.

    Well then AMD would likely have a hay day of lawsuits with their execs leaving for Intel.
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    Article error ... 2nd paragraph "Raja Keller" - new hybrid? :)
    Reply
  • atomicWAR
    digitalgriffin said:
    Last I checked, non-compete agreements are not legally binding.

    That said I do hope he's okay physically/mentally. He always had an uncanny ability to look at requirements data and figure out the best architectures to solve those problems. It's not so much thinking up new solutions as it is balancing your existing silicon to get the most overall performance for the next couple years. For example: Would a 10% AVX IPC improvement makes sense if it take 30% more silicon, 40% more power when only 2% of instructions use it?

    I have read papers about how certain people at Intel have a tendency to push you out if you don't play ball.

    Either way it doesn't matter. This will be a loss for Intel no matter which way it unfolds. I bet their stock will take a hit today.

    In the US....non compete agreements are legally binding as long as their duration and terms are not excessive. States vary but that is the general gist of them. Source below

    https://www.usaemploymentlawyers.com/employment-law/non-compete-agreements/
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Sometimes someone is too good (and too valuable, sometimes too expensive ) to work at any one place too long.

    Better to spread the genius around.

    I think this is more true if you are a visionary, or process expert. Lay the vision, build the process and then "my work is done here".
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    atomicWAR said:
    In the US....non compete agreements are legally binding as long as their duration and terms are not excessive. States vary but that is the general gist of them. Source below

    https://www.usaemploymentlawyers.com/employment-law/non-compete-agreements/

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/understanding-californias-ban-on-non-compete-agreements_b_58af1626e4b0e5fdf6196f04
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    digitalgriffin said:
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/understanding-californias-ban-on-non-compete-agreements_b_58af1626e4b0e5fdf6196f04

    Doesn't this only apply to California?
    Reply