Late last night, PC Perspective confirmed rumors that Raja Koduri, AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, is to go on sabbatical. Sourcing Raja’s internal letter to the RTG team, he will be taking leave from September 25 until an unspecified date in December, to spend time with his family. Dr Lisa Su, AMD's CEO, will lead RTG in the interim.

As reproduced by Ryan Shrout, Raja’s letter is as follows:

RTG Team,

You haven’t heard from me collectively in a while – a symptom not only of the whirlwind of launching Vega, but simply of the huge number of demands on my time since the formation of RTG. Looking back over this short period, it is an impressive view. We have delivered 6 straight quarters of double-digit growth in graphics, culminating in the launch of Vega and being back in high-performance. What we have done with Vega is unparalleled. We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega in a very short period of time. The demand for Vega (and Polaris!) is fantastic, and overall momentum for our graphics is strong.

Incredibly, we as AMD also managed to spectacularly re-enter the high-performance CPU segments this year. We are all exceptionally proud of Ryzen, Epyc and Threadripper. The computing world is not the same anymore and the whole world is cheering for AMD. Congratulations and thanks to those of you in RTG who helped see these products through. The market for high-performance computing is on an explosive growth trajectory driven by machine intelligence, visual cloud, blockchain and other exciting new workloads. Our vision of immersive and instinctive computing is within grasp. As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.

At the beginning of the year I warned that Vega would be hard. At the time, some folks didn’t believe me. Now many of you understand what I said. Vega was indeed hard on many, and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you who endured the Vega journey with me. Vega was personally hard on me as well and I used up a lot of family credits during this journey. I have decided to take a time-off in Q4 to spend time with my family. I have been contemplating this for a while now and there was never a good time to do this. Lisa and I agreed that Q4 is better than 2018, before the next wave of product excitement. Lisa will be acting as the leader of RTG during by absence. My sincere thanks to Lisa and rest of AET for supporting me in this decision and agreeing to take on additional workload during my absence.

I am looking to start my time-off on Sept 25th and return in December.

Thank you, all of you, for your unwavering focus, dedication and support over these past months, and for helping us to build something incredible. We are not done yet, and keep the momentum going!

Regards, Raja

Since his return to AMD in 2013 and the reformation of a monolithic graphics division with RTG in 2015, Raja has overseen and led all aspects of AMD graphics hardware and software. Raja’s public presence and involvement render him the face of graphics at AMD, in all senses of the word, from Capsaicin events to Twitter and Reddit. Following Vega’s launch, Raja had taken two weeks vacation to visit family, following visits to company sites in India.

Given the news in his letter, we hope all is well.

Source: PC Perspective

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  • cekim - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    I say this as the owner of a gaggle of 1080's (Ti and non and 980's and 780's and on and on)... As above, I think this is not only cynical, but factually invalid. Vega is selling like super-heated hot-cakes. Whatever quibbles over power and price, they are flying off the shelf faster than they can be made. Honestly, I think this is what it is described. He's been on a whirlwind and wants to take a long vacation.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    I think Product Management deserves a lot of the blame, here.

    "We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega ..."

    It's like they said "we can only afford to build one big chip, so it has to do everything!" In the networking industry, it would be referred to as a "God box". What they needed to do was prioritize their markets and pare down the feature set, accordingly. Kinda like how Nvidia has the P100 mainly for compute, and the P102 for graphics. Well, if you can't afford to build both, then pick one and don't try to combine both into the same product, or it's little surprise that it'll be big, hot, and expensive to fab. Not to mention taking forever to design and test.
  • Opencg - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    Nope. They can't afford to make 2 chips and they can't afford to leave a market. Considering what they have to work with and what they have to go against this is about all that could ever be expected from them. If you don't like it then you simply dont understand it.
  • mode_13h - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    "Considering what they have to work with and what they have to go against this is about all that could ever be expected from them."

    The market doesn't give you a handicap because of "what you have to work with and what you have to go against".

    By trying to do everything, they ended up doing some important things badly. Vega's graphics performance is crap, considering its size, memory bandwidth, and power. Vega 64 is stillborn, as a high-end gaming product. In effect, they *did* leave their biggest and most stable market!

    In the short term, mining will compensate. But this has a longer-term cost that game & VR developers have little incentive to optimize for Vega, so mining isn't a perfect substitute for those markets.

    Moreover, Nvidia's V100 is about 5x as fast at training neural networks and has far better scaling to multiple GPUs for that & HPC applications. So, that's another market where half-way measures just aren't good enough to compete in a meaningful way.

    If you refuse to see the breadth and depth of the impact Vega's substantial short-comings will have, then you simply don't understand it.
  • sonicmerlin - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Not just any node shrink. 2 major nodes at once that should have resulted in a doubling of performance without any architecture changes.
  • Opencg - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    You have no concept of how nodes are working right now. Read up son.
  • Opencg - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    Also how exactly are you going to use 4x the transistors without any changes to silicon. And no you cant just stamp the old design 4 times.
  • Yojimbo - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    Well, obviously I don't know the internal workings of AMD, but I have to wonder the resources AMD have been allocating to GPU development in recent years. AMD seemed to take a strategy to focus on becoming competitive with Intel in CPUs, resulting in Ryzen, which seems to be rather successful. But at the same time as Ryzen's development, AMD were reducing their R&D budget. I'm inferring that that means less resources available for GPU development. Now, maybe they fully-funded development of a next-generation (post GCN) architecture (that sounds like the best long-term strategic move if they have the cash reserves to do it), which would leave new GCN development on a shoestring budget.

    If my guesses are correct, one can hardly blame Raja Koduri for RTC's lack of competitiveness with NVIDIA and the performance of its GPUs up to this point. One can certainly not blame him for AMD's inability to break into the HPC and machine learning space with their GPUs, because AMD has certainly not been funding the necessary tool chain development to compete there.
  • bill.rookard - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    I must say, if anyone deserves a break... I imagine Lisa Su could use one as well...
  • axy1985 - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    If it's true this is a soft-layout, then shame. RX 400 and RX 500 was a hit, and Vega was a financial hit. If it isn't and he's really just taking time off... I wonder if I write a fancy letter like that, can I get 3 months off from work?

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