Return of the King: AMD K7 and K8 Designer Jim Keller Back at AMD

AMD Hires Chip Designer from Apple to Head Microprocessor Architecture Development

by Anton Shilov
08/01/2012 | 07:04 PM

After many numerous resignations of experienced engineers and architects, Advanced Micro Devices begins to get professionals back into the team to lead it into the future. Today the company announced the return of one of the most legendary chip specialists on the planet, Jim Keller.

 

AMD on Wednesday said that Jim Keller has joined the company as corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores, reporting to chief technology officer and senior vice president of technology and engineering Mark Papermaster. Previously, Mr. Keller designed A-series chips at Apple, co-developed two generations of Alpha processors at DEC, which player an extremely important role in the world of microprocessors. But most importantly, he co-developed AMD's legendary  K7 and K8 (x86-64) architectures, which brought it to the market of high-performance PCs and servers about a decade ago.

In his new role, Jim Keller will lead AMD’s microprocessor core design efforts aligned with AMD’s ambidextrous strategy with a focus on developing both high-performance and low-power processor cores that will be the foundation of AMD’s future products.

“Jim is one of the most widely respected and sought-after innovators in the industry and a very strong addition to our engineering team. He has contributed to processing innovations that have delivered tremendous compute advances for millions of people all over the world, and we expect that his innovative spirit, low-power design expertise, creativity and drive for success will help us shape our future and fuel our growth,” said Mark Papermaster.

Jim Keller was most recently a director in the platform architecture group at Apple focusing on mobile products, where he architected several generations of mobile processors, including the A-series chip families found in millions of Apple iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs. Prior to Apple, Keller was vice president of design for P.A. Semi, a fabless semiconductor design firm specializing in low-power mobile processors that was acquired by Apple in 2008. While there, he led the team responsible for building a powerful networking SoC and its integrated PowerPC processor.

Mr. Keller previously worked at SiByte and Broadcom as chief architect for a line of scalable, MIPS-based network processors that supported 1Gb networking interfaces, PCI and other control functions. Before Broadcom, he spent several years at AMD, playing an instrumental role on the design team responsible for the groundbreaking AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron 64 processors, which featured the world’s first native x86-64 bit architecture.

Jim Keller also co-authored the widely adopted HyperTransport specification, as well as the innovative x86-64 processor instruction set, which is used around the world today in hundreds of millions of desktop, notebook and server systems.