Lifetime of Achievement: Dr Lisa Su, Chair & CEO at AMD

Data Centre Magazine honours Dr Lisa Su, Chair and CEO at AMD, and her more than 30 year career working towards advancing global chipmaking

With Dr Lisa Su at the helm, semiconductor powerhouse Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is continuing to advance in AI and digital transformation through the power of global chipmaking.

Having held the position of Chair and CEO of AMD since 2014, Dr Su has helped to successfully execute a strategy, market focus and product extension. Prior to joining AMD, she spent more than 15 years working in the semiconductor industry and is best known for her work developing silicon-on-insulator semiconductor manufacturing technologies.

She has also worked on more efficient semiconductor chips, particularly during her time as Vice President of the Semiconductor Research and Development Center at IBM.

Transforming passion into innovation

Born in Taiwan, Dr Lisa Su emigrated to the United States with her parents as a child. She went on to obtain Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has also published more than 40 technical articles and was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers in 2009. 

With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Dr Su is well-respected for her knowledge and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cisco Systems Inc., the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA). In 2018, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and received the Global Semiconductor Association’s Dr Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award. 

Dr Su has also been the recipient of numerous other awards and accolades, including placing on the Fortune Most Powerful Women list four years running, a 2022 International Peace Honours Honouree and holding honorary doctorates from Asia University, National Tsing Hua University and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University.

As a business leader and digital disruptor, Fortune named Dr Su number two on its ‘Business Person of the Year list’ in 2020. In 2021, she was recognised by the IEEE with its highest semiconductor honour, the Robert N Noyce Medal, in addition to being appointed by US President Biden to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

A high-performance compute revolution

Despite her achievements, Dr Su is always keen to achieve more. Her passion for the industry is her biggest strength and she is driven by one goal: to ensure that those at AMD continue to develop high-performance compute and visualisation technologies to solve the world’s toughest problems.

Earlier in her career, Dr Su held roles at Texas Instruments and spent 13 years at IBM, where she was working at the forefront of semiconductor device development. This area of technology has always interested her throughout the entirety of her career, as she remains focused on finding new ways to make devices faster and smaller.

She joined AMD in 2012, which was then a pivotal time for the technology industry. As she says in a video interview with Forbes, she was excited by the company, believing that it was working at the “bleeding edge” of technology. 

“AMD is at our best when we are taking bold, calculated risks and aggressively pursuing the leading-edge technologies that change the world,” Dr Su says.

She has also been a large part of simplifying the company, focusing on its strengths: Chips and data centres.

AI and the data centre: Opportunities, risks, demands

With AMD, much like any other tech giant, Dr Su is concerned with where the industry is moving to next. With this in mind, AMD in 2024 will be considering what is going to be most important and how it can develop.

“We all probably underestimated the power of AI,” she says in an interview with CNBC. “The AI market over the last year has just exploded. ChatGPT has really changed our perspective for what generative AI (Gen AI) can do.” 

She adds that “everybody wants to use AI,” citing that the company needs more training and inference for its AI models to support data centre demand. 

Indeed, AMD is already competing on price with Nvidia for chips and this level of competition will only continue as AI progresses further into 2024. In December 2023, AMD’s AI chip customers were announced and included the likes of Microsoft, Dell Technologies, Oracle, Meta, Lenovo and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Ultimately, with Dr Su, AMD will continue its path towards partnership - to give its customers the best in-class.

Dr Su says: “The more compute we have, the more capable AI will be.”

 

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