AMD’s former graphics chief joins Intel as chief architect

Raja Koduri, former senior vice president of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD, has joined Intel

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Former AMD graphics chief Raja Koduri was responsible for helping turn around the company’s position in graphics chips. He resigned last week during a leave of absence and has now been hired as the chief architect at Intel.

This change of jobs is the kind that will raise some eyebrows. Koduri will have similar responsibilities at Intel, as he will be senior vice president of the newly formed Core and Visual Computing group at the world’s biggest chip maker, which is also the world’s biggest rival for AMD.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel said that Koduri will be general manager of a new initiative to drive edge computing solutions, which means Intel wants to bring artificial intelligence and visual computing from the servers and put them into actual devices.

He will also expand Intel’s position in integrated graphics for the PC market and work on moving Intel into the high-end discrete graphics chip market. That part of the job will be in direct competition with AMD and Nvidia. In my opinion, that might put Koduri at risk for possible violation of trade secrets, should AMD wish to pursue that claim. I would expect that to happen if this were like the 1990s, when AMD and Intel were locked in litigation over tech copying.

In a statement, a spokesman for AMD said, “We have a very strong graphics team and will continue our focus on building great products. We also have industry-leading graphics [intellectual property] IP and, if necessary, will vigorously defend it.”

Above: Raja koduri, former head of Radeon Technology Group.

Image Credit: AMD

On the other hand, Intel and AMD are getting along pretty good right now. AMD recently announced this week that it is making a semi-custom chip for Intel. Koduri’s former business unit struck a deal with Intel to integrate a semi-custom Radeon graphics chip and other technology into an Intel multi-chip processor package.

Intel has long made chips that combine graphics and processing together. But the combination of the processors and integrated chip sets haven’t been as competitive as AMD’s own accelerated processing units (APUs), which have better graphics performance. And they are also not as good at graphics performance as AMD’s stand-alone Radeon graphics chips and Nvidia’s stand-alone GeForce graphics chips.

But under Koduri’s leadership, Intel will now shoot for the high-end graphics market as well. Intel said it will unify and expand differentiated intellectual property across computing, graphics, media, imaging and machine intelligence capabilities for the client and data center segments, artificial intelligence, and emerging opportunities like edge computing.

“Raja is one of the most experienced, innovative and respected graphics and system architecture visionaries in the industry and the latest example of top technical talent to join Intel,” said Murthy Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer and a group president, in a statement. “We have exciting plans to aggressively expand our computing and graphics capabilities and build on our very strong and broad differentiated IP foundation. With Raja at the helm of our Core and Visual Computing Group, we will add to our portfolio of unmatched capabilities, advance our strategy to lead in computing and graphics, and ultimately be the driving force of the data revolution.”

Koduri, 49, has more than 25 years of experience in visual computing, game consoles, and accelerated computing.

In a statement, he said, “I have admired Intel as a technology leader and have had fruitful collaborations with the company over the years. I am incredibly excited to join the Intel team and have the opportunity to drive a unified architecture vision across its world-leading IP portfolio that help’s accelerate the data revolution.”

Koduri will officially start in his new role at Intel in early December.