AMD Hires Ex-Intel Labs Architect, John Gustafson, As Chief Graphics Product Architectureby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 28, 2012 4:49 PM EST
After a bunch of high profile departures earlier this year, AMD has been trying to turn the tides as of late with high profile hires. Kicking it off was the return of K8 chief architect Jim Keller - AMD hired him away from Apple. Keller will assume the role of AMD's new chief architect of CPU cores.
Today AMD is announcing that it has made a similarly key hire: John Gustafson. Gustafson joins AMD as its new Chief Graphics Product Architect, and he comes from a very good background.
Prior to joining AMD, John spent almost four years at Intel. The last seven months he has spent as a senior architect at Intel Labs, working on some forward looking computer usage models. The AMD press release summarizes Gustafson's experience in a typically flattering way:
Gustafson is a 35-year veteran of the computing industry. He joins AMD from Intel, where he headed the company’s eXtreme Technologies Lab, conducting cutting-edge research on energy-efficient computing and memory, as well as optical, energy and storage technologies. Prior to that, he served as CEO at Massively Parallel Technologies and CTO at ClearSpeed Technology, a high-performance computing company. Gustafson has also held key management and research positions at numerous companies including Sun Microsystems, Ames and Sandia laboratories.
AMD is also particularly proud of its new hire as he comes with his own law:
In 1988, Gustafson wrote Reevaluating Amdahl's Law to address limitations of Amdahl’s Law, which models the maximum potential performance improvement from parallel processing. Gustafson proved that processors working in parallel can solve larger problems, marking a change in how the industry viewed parallel processing. Today, Gustafson’s Law is widely accepted among academia as the standard for parallel processing education.
Gustafson's background in parallel computing fits very well with his new role with graphics products. AMD is careful to point out that John's work would apply to both Radeon and FirePro lineups, the latter which has become a renewed focus for AMD.
AMD's press release also has a pretty powerful quote from the new hire, sounding downright passionate about GPUs and what they mean to the future of computing:
“I look forward to working with my teams to expand the AMD graphics technology roadmap,” said Gustafson. “The next decade will serve as a watershed era for GPUs in graphics rendering power and compute capabilities, creating the opportunity for multi-tera FLOPS APUs. In terms of raw performance, the evolution of discrete graphics has far exceeded that of the central processing unit (CPU), and the programmable characteristics of today’s GPUs have thrown open a door that could very well see it rival the CPU as the most critical element of computer performance in the near future.”
Folks move between silicon companies all of the time, but I'm ok with the idea of these moves being more high profile than they have been in the past. It never hurts to know who is building the things we're reviewing.