People to Watch 2017

Lisa Su
President & CEO

Dr. Lisa Su is AMD’s president and chief executive officer and also serves on the company’s board of directors. Previously, she was chief operating officer responsible for integrating AMD’s business units, sales, global operations and infrastructure enablement teams into a single market-facing organization responsible for all aspects of product strategy and execution. Dr. Su joined AMD in January 2012 as senior vice president and general manager, global business units and was responsible for driving end-to-end business execution of AMD’s products and solutions.

Prior to joining AMD, Dr. Su served as senior vice president and general manager, Networking and Multimedia at Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., and was responsible for global strategy, marketing and engineering for the company’s embedded communications and applications processor business. Dr. Su joined Freescale in 2007 as chief technology officer, where she led the company’s technology roadmap and research and development efforts.

Dr. Su spent the previous 13 years at IBM in various engineering and business leadership positions, including vice president of the Semiconductor Research and Development Center responsible for the strategic direction of IBM’s silicon technologies, joint development alliances and semiconductor R&D operations. Prior to IBM, she was a member of the technical staff at Texas Instruments in the Semiconductor Process and Device Center (SPDC).

Dr. Su has bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has published more than 40 technical articles and was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) in 2009. Dr. Su was named “2014 Executive of the Year” at the EETimes and EDN 2014 ACE Awards and was honored in MIT Technology Review’s Top 100 Young Innovators in 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for Analog Devices, the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) and the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

HPCwire: We are hearing a lot of buzz about the next-gen Vega GPU architecture, the AI-focused Radeon Instinct GPU line and the upcoming server-class “Naples” CPU, based on the Zen architecture. What can we expect from AMD in 2017?

Lisa Su: 2017 will be an exciting year for AMD as we introduce a strong set of new products that will bring greater competition and innovation to a number of markets, including the datacenter and HPC spaces.

We plan to start the year with the launch of our Ryzen desktop processor in the first quarter, followed by our “Naples” server CPU in the second quarter. Both of these processors will feature our new high-performance “Zen” CPU core. We have invested heavily the last four years to develop from-scratch a new high-performance CPU core based on a “clean sheet” design approach. We set extremely aggressive goals for ourselves with “Zen” and I am proud of the work our excellent engineers have done to design a power-efficient core that delivers a 40% generational improvement in instructions-per-clock (IPC).

In the first half of the year, we also plan to launch new products for the emerging machine intelligence (MI) and HPC markets featuring our leadership GPU technology. These accelerators are a part of our new Radeon Instinct initiative that targets a wide-range of MI and HPC workloads. We are also committed to an open ecosystem and will add new features and functionality to our Radeon Open Compute platform (ROCm) to make it easier for the developer community to tap into the power of these new accelerators and other AMD compute hardware to develop more powerful computing solutions.

HPCwire: What opportunities does AMD see in AI (or machine intelligence) and HPC? Can you also speak to the synergy between HPC and AI?

As the only company with the capabilities to deliver both high-performance CPUs and GPUs, we believe there is a significant opportunity for AMD in machine learning/AI. We think the combination of highly efficient serial and parallel compute engines as well as software advances will further accelerate the adoption of machine learning. Low-latency CPU and GPU compute engines are ideal for executing inference data in real-time, while the parallelism and computational capability of our GPU technology provides a better match for training neural networks. Finally, you need the programming environment for developers to seamlessly tap into both of these architectures simultaneously. For some time now, we have been putting significant resources into both the hardware and software side of the equation, and we are starting to see benefits of that work with today’s machine learning workloads making greater use of the capabilities in AMD’s high-performance processing engines. Moving forward, we plan to make additional software investments to further open up our compute engines to developers and enable even greater levels of application optimization.

HPCwire: AMD was one of the first companies to promote the marriage of CPUs and GPUs, how will you execute on that strategy?

If you look at the major trends in the IT industry – from VR to AR, deep learning, machine intelligence, or cloud computing – they all benefit from delivering more compute cycles within constrained thermal budgets. These trends drove our acquisition of ATI 10 years ago. Our vision at the time was that high-performance heterogeneous solutions that seamlessly combine leading-edge compute and graphics technology would be required to efficiently power future workloads. Fast forward to 2017 and it is clear now that it is precisely the combination of CPU and GPU compute that has the potential to push each of these trends forward – creating truly immersive and instinctive computing experiences that will fundamentally improve how we interact with the ever-increasing amount of technology that surrounds us.

HPCwire: Exascale is a major part of the HPC conversation right now, what role will AMD play in bringing about the exascale era?

Many of the challenges to making exascale computing commercially viable are the same ones facing next-generation servers, mobile clients, and embedded IoT endpoints: how can we exponentially increase performance while maintaining or lowering power consumption at the system level? AMD has been a major industry partner shaping exascale development, actively participating in the Department of Energy (DoE) FastForward program since 2012. We have taken a holistic approach that today includes software and hardware targeting upcoming “Zen”-based x86 processors and Radeon Instinct accelerators. By participating in co-design work with partners like the DoE, AMD can make decisions around product architectures, complementary interconnect technologies, and related ecosystem support to meet the needs of exascale customers.

HPCwire: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you tell us about yourself – personal life, family, background, hobbies, etc.? Is there anything about you your colleagues might be surprised to learn?

In my spare time I enjoy playing golf and a good glass of red wine, although not together.

Some people might be surprised to know that my husband, Dan, is a huge AMD fan. He knows all of our products and regularly follows the product review sites and forums that discuss our products.

Ian Buck
Adolfy Hoisie
John Martinis
Satoshi Matsuoka
Paul Messina
Bernd Mohr
Andrew Ng
Kirk Skaugen
Avinash Sodani
Lisa Su
Jeffrey Vetter
 Guangwen Yang


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