AMD's Keller rumored to be headed to Samsung

Chinese news site says he will join the Austin office to make mobile chips.

Jim Keller, the well-regarded CPU architect who just departed AMD after completing his work on the new Zen microarchitecture, is rumored to be resurfacing at Samsung's Austin, Texas office, where he will work on mobile chips.

The source is the Chinese news site Weibo, and all the story says I spelled out above. Keller, Samsung, Austin. That's it.

Keller has played a major role in semiconductor development over the years. At AMD he was involved in the creation of the Athlon architecture along with Dirk Meyer, which yielded the successful K7 and K8 processor generations. He went on to work on the HyperTransport interface and the first native x86 64-bit architecture for the Athlon 64 processor.

He left AMD for Broadcom and then PA Semi, which Apple purchased. He was involved in the development of Apple's A4 and A5 SoCs before returning to AMD in 2012 to lead the development of Zen.

That reflects a habit of his: he joins a company for a big project, and when it's done, he heads off for new pastures. Will he bail from Samsung once whatever project he starts is complete?

There are no reports of what he will do, and the claims of him joining Samsung still have not been confirmed. One thing he may end up doing is helping Qualcomm get its house in order. A report from BusinessKorea (via 9to5Google) says Samsung is working to "stabilize' Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor to deal with its heat problems.

If that sounds familiar, it happened last year. Word got around that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor ran too hot and it scared people away, so Qualcomm doesn't need another repeat of this problem. But I suspect Keller will stick to Samsung's Exynos processors rather than fix Qualcomm's mess.

AMD is not having a good month when it comes to talent. AMD Corporate Fellow Phil Rogers has departed the company for its chief rival Nvidia as its Chief Software Architect, Compute Server. Several enthusiast sites noticed the change in his LinkedIn profile.

Rogers worked for ATI (before AMD bought it) and AMD for a total of 21 years. He led the HSA Foundation and led development of AMD's Fusion initiative to meld the CPU and GPU into one piece of silicon, and was an important speaker for AMD at event keynotes. So this is a painful loss.

His would indicate he'll play a role in Nvidia's supercomputing and GPU compute efforts, where Nvidia is already the leader. Rogers presence should make it that much stronger.

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