Jim Keller (engineer)

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Jim Keller
Born1958/1959 (age 62–63)
OccupationCTO at Tenstorrent
Known for

James B. Keller[1] (born 1958/1959)[2] is a microprocessor engineer best known for his work at AMD and Apple. He was the lead architect of the AMD K8 microarchitecture[3][4][5] (including the original Athlon 64)[3][6][7] and was involved in designing the Athlon (K7)[5] and Apple A4/A5 processors.[3][8][9][10] He was also the coauthor of the specifications for the x86-64 instruction set[8][11] and HyperTransport interconnect.[3][11][12] From 2012 to 2015, he returned to AMD to work on the AMD K12[13] and Zen microarchitectures.[14][15]


He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University which he earned in 1980.[16][1]


Jim Keller joined DEC in 1982, and worked there until 1998, where he was involved in designing a number of processors, including the VAX 8800,[1] the Alpha 21164 and the Alpha 21264 processors.[3][4] Prior to DEC, he had worked at Harris Corporation on microprocessor boards.[1] In 1998 he moved to AMD, where he worked to launch the AMD Athlon (K7) processor and was the lead architect of the AMD K8 microarchitecture,[17] which also included designing the x86-64 instruction set and HyperTransport interconnect mainly used for multiprocessor communications.[3]

In 1999, he left AMD to work at SiByte to design MIPS-based processors for 1 Gbit/s network interfaces and other devices.[4][12][18] In November 2000, SiByte was acquired by Broadcom,[19] where he continued as chief architect[9] until 2004.[3]

In 2004 he moved to serve as the Vice President of Engineering at P.A. Semi,[3][11] a company specializing in low-power mobile processors.[4] In early 2008 Keller moved to Apple. P.A. Semi was acquired by Apple shortly afterwards, reuniting Keller with his prior team from P.A. Semi.[6][17] The new team worked to design the Apple A4 and A5 system-on-a-chip mobile processors. These processors were used in several Apple products, including iPhone 4, 4S, iPad and iPad 2.

In August 2012, Jim Keller returned to AMD, where his primary task was to lead development of new generation of x86-64 and ARM microarchitectures called Zen and K12.[15][14] After years of being unable to compete with Intel in the high-end CPU market, the new generation of Zen processors has restored AMD's ability to do just that.[3][13] On September 18, 2015, Keller departed from AMD to pursue other opportunities, ending his three-year employment at AMD.[20]

In January 2016, Keller joined Tesla, Inc. as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering.[21]

In April 2018, Keller joined Intel, where he served as Senior Vice President.[21][22][23] He resigned from Intel June 2020 officially citing personal reasons.[24] Though later it was reported that he left over a dispute on whether the company should outsource more of its production.[25]

Jim Keller joined Tenstorrent as CTO in December 2020.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Jim Keller's wife, Bonnie,[27] is the sister of Canadian author and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d John Fu; James B. Keller; Kenneth J. Haduch (1987). "Aspects of the VAX 8800 C Box Design" (PDF). Digital Technical Journal. 1 (4).
  2. ^ "Computer Architect Jim Keller Joins AMD as Chief of Processor Group".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anand Lal Shimpi (1 August 2012). "Apple A4/A5 Designer & K8 Lead Architect, Jim Keller, Returns to AMD". AnandTech.
  4. ^ a b c d Anton Shilov (1 August 2012). "Return of the King: AMD K7 and K8 Designer Jim Keller Back at AMD". X-bit Labs. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b Graeme Burton (12 May 2014). "AMD to design new micro-architecture for 2015 launch under chip guru Jim Keller". computing.co.uk.
  6. ^ a b Robin Wauters (1 August 2012). "Apple's CPU Architect Jim Keller Jumps To AMD". The Next Web.
  7. ^ John Brownlee (1 August 2012). "AMD Hires Ax Series Architect Jim Keller Away From Apple To Report To Mark Papermaster". Cult of Mac.
  8. ^ a b Devindra Hardawar (1 August 2012). "Apple CPU lead Jim Keller heads back to AMD as chief architect". VentureBeat.
  9. ^ a b Adi Robertson (1 August 2012). "Former Apple chip designer Jim Keller joins AMD as chief architect and VP". The Verge. Vox Media.
  10. ^ Arik Hesseldahl (1 August 2012). "AMD Hires Apple's Head Chip Designer". AllThingsD.
  11. ^ a b c Andy Patrizio (16 May 2014). "AMD roadmap: Is AMD finally ready to give Intel a real fight?". ITworld.
  12. ^ a b Charlie Demerjian (1 August 2012). "Apple's CPU architect Jim Keller moves back to AMD". SemiAccurate.
  13. ^ a b Sean Kalinich (27 June 2014). "AMD Brings K7/K8 Creator, Jim Keller, Back Into the Fold". decryptedtech.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  14. ^ a b Anton Shilov (11 September 2014). "AMD: 'Bulldozer' was not a game-changer, but next-gen 'Zen' will be". kitguru.net.
  15. ^ a b Hassan Mujtaba (5 May 2014). "AMD Confirms Development of High-Performance x86 Core With Completely New Architecture". WCCFtech.
  16. ^ Brooke Crothers (1 August 2012). "In tit for tat, AMD grabs Apple chip designer". CNET.
  17. ^ a b Seth Weintraub (1 August 2012). "Apple CPU guru Jim Keller, who came with PA Semi deal, departs back to AMD to lead group under Mark Papermaster". 9to5Mac.
  18. ^ Jose Vilches (1 August 2012). "Apple chip designer Jim Keller heads back to AMD". TechSpot.
  19. ^ Molly Williams (7 November 2000). "Broadcom Agrees to Acquire SiByte for $2 Billion in Stock". Wall Street Journal.
  20. ^ Mann, Parm. "Legendary CPU architect Jim Keller leaves AMD". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  21. ^ a b Seth Weintraub (28 January 2016). "The chip guru who built Apple's Ax microprocessors joins Tesla to lead the Autopilot Hardware Engineering team". Electrek.
  22. ^ Muoio, Danielle (21 April 2018). "CPU Design Guru Jim Keller Joins Intel; Completes CPU Grand Tour". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  23. ^ Wilson, Matthew (26 April 2018). "Zen architecture lead Jim Keller heads to Intel". Kit Guru. Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Changes in Intel's Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group". Intel Newsroom. 11 June 2020. Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  25. ^ "Hedge fund Third Point urges Intel to explore deal options". 29 December 2020. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  26. ^ Cutress, Dr. Ian (5 January 2021). "Jim Keller Becomes CTO at Tenstorrent: "The Most Promising Architecture Out There"". AnandTech. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  27. ^ Peterson, Jordan. Beyond Order. pp. Coda.
  28. ^ "He says freedom, they say hate. The pronoun fight is back". thestar.com. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2021.