CPU Architecture Guru Jim Keller Leaves AMD
CPU architecture expert Jim Keller, co-author of the x86-64 instruction set specifications and HyperTransport interconnect, is reported to have left his role as Chief Architect of Microprocessor Cores at AMD barely three years after being taken on. His departure is described as a surprise, and leaves AMD without a full-time CPU architect chief.
Keller was a fixture at AMD during their K7 & K8 heyday, involved in the launch of heavy hitting Athlon & Duron CPUs, and was widely perceived to have been brought back into the fold to turn around AMD's fortunes in the post-Bulldozer era. He left AMD in 1999 having laid the groundwork for much of their 2000-2003 successes. Later roles at Broadcom and especially Apple, where he was influential in the development of their own processor architecture for iPod and iPad devices, cemented his reputation as an engineering heavy-weight before returning to AMD in 2012.
As Chief Architect Keller has been in overall charge of the next-generation 'Zen' and 'K12' CPU architectures, including exploratory iterations on subsequent generation of Zen. By this stage a large portion of the design work for Zen should be complete, which may mean that his particular talents had already been exploited. According to spokesperson Drew Prairie his absence should have no impact on the delivery of Zen, which is due for sampling and tentative release next year. AMD CTO Mark Papermaster will take over his role until a replacement is appointed.