Intel Hires AMD Chip Design Veteran Away From Tesla Autopilot Post

Intel has hired AMD chip design veteran Jim Keller away from his post as Tesla's autopilot head to lead the silicon engineering team.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said Thursday that Keller will begin as a senior vice president on April 30. Multiple publications reported on Keller joining Intel overnight.

"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," Keller said in a statement.

Keller has more than 20 years of experience in x86 and ARM-based microarchitecture design across PCs, servers, mobile devices and cars. He most recently served as vice president of autopilot and low-voltage hardware at electric car manufacturer Tesla. Before that, he served as corporate vice president and chief cores architect at AMD and as vice president of engineering and chief architect at P.A. Semi, which Apple acquired in 2008. While at Apple, Keller led Apple's custom low-power mobile chip efforts.

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"Jim is one of the most respected microarchitecture design visionaries in the industry, and the latest example of top technical talent to join Intel,’ Murthy Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer, said in a statement. "We have embarked on exciting initiatives to fundamentally change the way we build the silicon as we enter the world of heterogeneous process and architectures. Jim joining us will help accelerate this transformation."

This marks another major hire of an executive from AMD after Intel snagged graphics computing expert Raja Koduri last fall to lead its discrete graphics unit.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, told CRN that the hire makes sense in part because of Keller's experience in the mobile segment.

"They need somebody who has a decent amount of experience in that space," he said.

Keller's experience of leading the autopilot program at Tesla will also likely serve Intel's efforts in the connected car and autonomous vehicle space, which started last year when the company acquired vision software developer Mobileye for $15.3 billion.