Intel principal engineer quits to focus on AI

Intel’s principal engineer will be leaving the tech giant after 20 years of service. Focussing on processors for two decade, Francois Piednoel has hinted that his next venture will be in the world of artificial intelligence. Taking to Twitter to announce his resignation, Piednol later tweeted what his next venture will be in. Alongside a picture of himself holding a chip, he tweeted: “I am not so good at saying good bye, I will miss all my Coworkers badly, I have no regret, I gave all I had. Now, AI…”

Piednoel also took to the social media platform to state that he would ‘NEVER!’ work for rival chipmaker AMD ‘because [his] knowledge about Intel is too deep, [he] would get lawyers knocking on [his] door next day.” Piednoel has worked on a wide range processor designs including Katmai, Conroe, Penryn, and Nehalem, plus SoCs from SandyBridge to Skylake, KabyLake, Skylake-X and Atom products. He was also involved in the shift from Pentium 4 to Core microarchitecture which has proven integral to Intel’s ongoing success.

Where exactly Piednoel ends up is still up for debate. Maybe he will even set up his own AI company. But after 20 years working on OC and CPU platforms, it is (as he says) ‘time to do something different’.

How Piednoel’s departure will affect Intel remains to be seen. Last month, forecasters predicted that Samsung would knock Intel off its chip pedestal for the first time since 1991. Reporting an operating profit of 14 trillion won (£9.3 billion) in the three months up to June, Samsung has increased profit by 72 per cent year-on-year. Sales climbed 18 per cent to 60 trillion won, buoyed by strong sales of smartphones including the new flagship Galaxy S8.

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