Intel poaches lead GPU architect from AMD

Intel has announced that it has secured the services of Rohit Verma, formerly Lead SoC Architect for Discrete GPUs at AMD. Verma is set to become the Lead Product Architect at Intel’s Accelerated Computing Group. This is a high profile acquisition for Intel as Verma was a Senior Fellow at AMD.

Intel Alchemist is the new name for its DG2 graphics card launching in Q1 2022 | PC Gamer

Intel has a record of poaching senior AMD engineers. In 2017, they recruited former head of Radeon Technologies Group Raja Koduri and appointed him Senior Vice President of the Core and Visual Computing Group. He has since led Intel’s development of discrete GPUs and enterprise accelerators.

A year later, Intel recruited the designer of the Zen architecture, Jim Keller, though he left in 2020 after a dispute. From AMD’s marketing team, Intel has hired Chris Hook, Darren McPhee, Damien Triolet, and Heather Lennon.

Intel Arc (“Alchemist”): Engineering sample photographed with 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe - Exact Release

The news comes as Intel is hard at work putting the finishing touches on its 1st generation Arc Alchemist range of graphics cards. Verma won’t have any significant input just yet, but with second, third and fourth generation Arc cards being planned, there’s a need for big brains in order to challenge the dominance of Nvidia and AMD in the GPU and high performance computing markets.

This isn’t Verma’s first stint at Intel, having previously worked as the Lead SoC Architect from 1999 – 2013.  This happens to coincide with much of CEO Pat Gelsinger’s time at Intel and they are surely well known to each other. It’s likely that Gelsinger himself was involved in reacquiring Verma’s services. No doubt with an open cheque book too!

The news is just the latest in a string of aggressive Intel moves. It’s not just staff acquisitions, but company acquisitions, huge capital investment and a willingness to move outside of Intel’s traditional markets.

Intel Is Giving Away an Arc Alchemist Discrete Graphics Card | Tom's Hardware

There’s the just announced buyout of Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion, investments in production capability, both in the USA and abroad, the plan to open its foundries to 3rd parties and even the possibility of licensing the x86 architecture. Intel really is on a roll and with Pat Gelsinger shaking things up, there’s sure to be further high profile staff acquisitions in the months to come.


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