A new direction — rejoining Red Hat

Today is my last day at NUVIA. It’s been a great experience working with Gerard, Manu, John, and the whole team of Nuvians who are well on the way toward disrupting the datacenter. I am particularly grateful to Gerard for giving me the opportunity to build and lead the NUVIA software organization in its early days. Although I won’t be there, we have built an incredible team of talented people who are going to continue to do amazing things long after I am gone. I am proud of the work that we did together and will look back on this time with great fondness.

In a week or so from now, I will be rejoining Red Hat. A company that had been my home for almost 14 years, since even before moved to the US. When I left last year, I told my colleagues at the time that deciding to leave in order to pursue a passion in learning about silicon design was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made. And I really meant that. Red Hat isn’t just a company, it’s a family, and the love that I still have for that place permeates my soul. I know I am not alone in being someone who has left Red Hat and felt a profound sense of loss. The feeling quite literally filled my dreams.

In the time I was last at Red Hat, I taught myself everything I know about modern computer architecture while having so many fun adventures, whether in helping lay the groundwork for Arm server standards and Operating Systems to run on them, or in helping to mitigate gnarly industry-wide security vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown. Through this journey, I became obsessed with what was really going on inside the microprocessors that we all rely upon. I used to joke that if I won the lottery I would pay Arm’s design team to let me intern in their group for just 6 months as a fly on the wall to learn all the things that I couldn’t learn from the literature.

Then along came NUVIA with a dream. A new way of thinking and a chance to learn about silicon from some of the best minds in the field. I had often said that I would have given almost anything to be at Transmeta, PA, DEC, or one of the other greats, even for a short time. And so I decided to enter a new and different world of silicon startups. Which felt like diving in the deep end, let me tell you that. While I had tinkered with FPGAs and written weekend Verilog in the past, I soon discovered so many awesome, yet foreign concepts to grasp quickly. I bought more books than usual, and did a lot of reading, all the while hopping regularly from coast to coast.

I brought with me my philosophy that there should never be “hardware people” and “software people”, only “people”, and we should all work together. When you design from the point of view of co-design you unlock so much more than you can ever get if the hardware and software are built in isolation. I used to say “the only barriers are those defined by the Arm architecture”, which is a nerdy way of saying that we should never have artificial walls that divide us. It is so fundamentally important to me that I plan to continue to espouse this way of thinking, forever.

Fast forward a year later and I’ve had many great adventures. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would know about how microprocessors are really built. I’ve made some great friends at NUVIA and I’m looking forward to watching their journey unfold from afar. I wish them only the best, and I am convinced that with a team as good as they have, they will achieve amazing things in the years ahead. At the same time, I’ve come to realize how much I missed Red Hat. You never quite realize how deep that feeling goes until you leave. It’s time for me to go home.

Computer Architect