People to Watch 2017

Kirk Skaugen
Executive Vice President & President, Data Center Group
Lenovo

Prior to joining the Lenovo team in 2016 Kirk Skaugen served as the Senior Vice President of Intel Corporation from January 28, 2013 in addition to filling a number of roles including General Manager of Client Computing Group, Head of The PC Client Group, Vice President of Intel Architecture Group and Manager of PC Client Group. Mr. Skaugen spent several years in a variety of sales positions within Intel’s sales and marketing organization, including microprocessor product management, distribution business management and Intel’s enterprise and desktop global account management for Compaq Computer Corporation. Mr. Skaugen received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University, with a further concentration in business.

HPCwire: Congratulations on being named an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2017, and also for your transition to Lenovo. How will your thorough knowledge of Intel’s existing portfolio and roadmap impact your decisions at Lenovo? What do you expect your impact will be as far as shaping the capabilities of Lenovo’s product line?

Kirk Skaugen: My experience at Intel gave me a deep understanding of the entire industry and the capabilities of every player. I joined Lenovo because this company has outstanding technical talent and a heritage of innovation, while also demonstrating a great ability to partner with others in delivering real breakthroughs. Lenovo already had a strong, collaborative relationship with Intel before I joined, so in that regard this is an easy transition. I’m looking forward to extending our joint efforts to innovate for the benefit of our customers.

In just my third month on the job, it’s still early. I’ve seen a lot of great things, particularly in our HPC technologies and customer engagements. One of our challenges is to stay focused and make smart choices in how we invest our R&D dollars. HPC is one area where we will invest aggressively. In the near term, I’m confident my previous experience and relationships will help our management team target the right HPC innovations that customers need to solve big problems and do incredible things.

HPCwire: For end users, we’ve seen a shift toward the convergence of HPC and Big Data – a trend that Intel actively embraced. Will you be carrying this position forward in developing a strategy for Lenovo?

It’s safe to say HPC technologies play a growing role in harnessing the power of big data to transform businesses and solve big problems like curing diseases. And we see more and more customers deploying HPC-level technologies in systems to mine and analyze data for commercial use in addition to traditional research-based applications.

Lenovo will keep leveraging our own innovation engine and strong industry partnerships to advance this trend. Much like Formula One racing to the auto industry, innovations pioneered in the HPC segment eventually flow to mainstream data centers. We intend to be at the forefront in this continuing revolution.

HPCwire: What trends in high performance computing do you see as particularly relevant as you look forward to the year ahead?

Artificial intelligence is obviously on everyone’s mind. Applications are exploding across the entire spectrum of our world, from individual consumers, to large global businesses, to governmental organizations. AI workflows can be very similar to HPC in their computational and data analytic requirements, so it make sense for us to leverage our skills in HPC hardware design and architecture here. As one of the largest companies engaged and making advancements from the device level to the cloud, Lenovo has a unique vantage point. This is going to be an important year for our company in the AI space, particularly in HPC, so stay tuned.

HPCwire: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you tell us about yourself – personal life, family, background, hobbies, etc.?

I love the outdoors and participate actively in skiing, hiking and mountain biking when I can.

 

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