Apple CPU Designer Jim Keller Heads Back to AMD as Chief Architect and VP

Paul Lilly

Jim Keller, now 53 years old, was a chip designer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) over a decade ago. His roots in the industry go back much further than that, all the way back to his DEC days where he cut his teeth on Alpha processors, but most recently he served as Director of Platform Architecture at Apple where he had a hand in designing the A4 and A5 processors employed in millions of iPads, iPhones, iPod touch devices, and Apple TV boxes. In a refreshing change of pace for AMD, which has lost some top level talent in recent months and years, Keller is back in Sunnyvale where he'll serve as the company's corporate vice president and chief architect of microprocessor cores.

AMD wasted little time in boasting Keller's return.

"Jim is one of the most widely respected and sought-after innovators in the industry and a very strong addition to our engineering team," said Mark Papermaster , senior vice president of technology and engineering, and the person Keller will be reporting to. "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."

Keller came to work at Apple when the Cupertino outfit acquired P.A. Semi, a fabless semiconductor design company he was employed at. Prior to that, he worked at SiByte and Broadcom as chief architect for a line of scalable, MIPS-based network processors. And before Broadcom, Keller helped AMD design its Athlon 64 and Opteron 64 processors, the first to feature native x86-64 bit architecture. He also co-authored the HyperTransport specification.

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