I wonder if there was a top level meeting behind closed doors and shuttered blinds afterwards that went like...
“To my AMD family,
Forty is a significant number in history. It is a number representing transition, testing and change. I have just spent forty days away from the office going through such a transition. It was an important time with my family, and it also offered me a rare space for reflection. During this time I have come to the extremely difficult conclusion that it is time for me to leave RTG and AMD.
I have no question in my mind that RTG, and AMD, are marching firmly in the right direction as high-performance computing becomes ever-more-important in every aspect of our lives. I believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing with Vega, Navi and beyond, and I am incredibly proud of how far we have come and where we are going. The whole industry has stood up and taken notice of what we are doing. As I think about how computing will evolve, I feel more and more that I want to pursue my passion beyond hardware and explore driving broader solutions.
I want to thank Lisa and the AET for enabling me to pursue my passion during the last four years at AMD, and especially the last two years with RTG. Lisa has my utmost respect for exhibiting the courage to enable me with RTG, for believing in me and for going out of her way to support me. I would also like to call out Mark Papermaster who brought me into AMD, for his huge passion for technology and for his relentless support through many difficult phases. And of course, I want to thank each and every one of my direct staff and my indirect staff who have worked so hard with me to build what we have now got. I am very proud of the strong leaders we have and I'm fully confident that they can execute on the compelling roadmap ahead.
I will continue to be an ardent fan and user of AMD technologies for both personal and professional use.
As I mentioned, leaving AMD and RTG has been an extremely difficult decision for me. But I felt it is the right one for me personally at this point. Time will tell. I will be following with great interest the progress you will make over the next several years.
On a final note, I have asked a lot of you in the last two years. You've always delivered. You've made me successful both personally and professionally, for which I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I have these final requests from you as I leave:
. Stay focused on the roadmap!
. Deliver on your commitments!
. Continue the culture of Passion, Persistence and Play!
. Make AMD proud!
. Make me proud!
"Earlier today, we announced two unrelated updates for our Radeon Technologies Group: 1) Raja Koduri has decided to leave AMD and 2) we are taking the next steps in our work to strengthen RTG by further focusing the organization on key growth areas.
I wanted to also make sure you understood these updates do not impact our plans or the strategic direction we are driving our graphics business. We appreciate the contributions Raja has made helping establish our dedicated graphics focus and strong team that is capable of accomplishing the ambitious goals we have set for this part of our business. Also want to make sure it is clear that there are no changes to our public product or technology graphics roadmaps, and we remain on track to deliver on our commitments in 2018 and beyond. Lisa will continue to lead RTG on an interim basis while we complete our search for a new leader.
We have made significant progress across AMD these past two years delivering the first wave of our high-performance products, best exemplified by our improved financial performance and year-over-year market share gains across all of our client, graphics and server products. Today’s changes are designed to allow us to better take advantage of the significant growth opportunities in front of us."
-- Drew Prairie (corporate communications
It would appear that Intel is gunning against NVIDIA in more ways than one. Raja Koduri was essential in the development of Vega and his experience as an engineer could prove to be critical for Intel’s recent ventures. Intel recently signed a deal with AMD to house their dedicated Radeon GPUs inside their KBL-G lineup which means synergy with its x86 rival is at an all time high. While Intel will profit from the sales of the full processor, AMD will profit from the deal as well, as it will get a piece of the pie. The only looser in this equation becomes NVIDIA.
With Raja Koduri transitioning to Intel and placed in a leading role, Intel will be able to streamline development of it KBL-G efforts since he has vast experience in dealing with HBM and inter-poser designs. In fact, it is almost certain, that he helped Intel with the integration from AMD’s side while the early deal was going through. Intel has been shifting a lot of its focus on integrated design philosophy by combining IPs and Raja is the best fit for that.
Another point of note is that with Raja on the team, Intel will be able to accelerate its efforts with Nirvana chip which is its major competitor in the deep learning space against NVIDIA. The AI chip, which is essentially a GPGPU in all but name showcases a parallel processing approach from the company that features HBM2 – and I am sure our readers can see the value Koduri can add over there. Since this chip is in direct competition with NVIDIA’s CuDNN based ecosystem, once again, it appears that Intel is going in guns blazing against the green giant.
Who knows, maybe Raja will even be able to do the impossible and give us an Intel dGPU (although that’s almost certainly just wishful thinking). The exact role and official announcement should happen soon. With Jim Keller working with Tesla and AMD for an AI chip and now Raja working with Intel to strengthen its parallel processing department, it really feels like the heat is turning up against NVIDIA – which enjoys the enviable advantage of a great head start and a relatively well developed ecosystem.