Mark Papermaster is chief technology officer and senior vice president at AMD, responsible for corporate technical direction, and AMD’s intellectual property (IP) and system-on-chip (SOC) product research and development. His more than 30 years of engineering experience includes significant leadership roles managing the development of a wide range of products spanning from mobile devices to high-performance servers.
Before joining AMD in October 2011, Papermaster was the leader of Cisco’s Silicon Engineering Group, the organization responsible for silicon strategy, architecture, and development for the company’s switching and routing businesses.
In prior roles, Papermaster served as Apple senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, where he was responsible for the iPod products, and iPhone hardware development. He also held a number of senior leadership positions at IBM, serving on the company’s Technical Leadership Team and overseeing development of the company’s key microprocessor and server technologies.
Papermaster received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Vermont. He is a member of the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering Advisory Board, Olin College Presidents Council, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Papermaster has published numerous articles on topics ranging from security to semiconductor energy efficiency to the future of immersive computing platforms. He speaks frequently at technology industry and business events. In April 2015, Papermaster hosted the annual international math competition, Math Kangaroo, from AMD’s Sunnyvale, CA, campus.
AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) designs and integrates technology that powers millions of intelligent devices, including personal computers, tablets, game consoles and cloud servers that define the new era of surround computing. AMD solutions enable people everywhere to realize the full potential of their favorite devices and applications to push the boundaries of what is possible.
AMD Changing the Game, funded by the AMD Foundation, fosters collaboration between schools, private industry, NGOs, and other organizations to advance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in new and innovative ways. The program inspires youth to learn STEM skills and experience STEM careers through the creation of socially responsible video games. Through the process of making games, students learn problem solving, critical thinking, language skills, and teamwork. AMD Changing the Game has been implemented in seven regions around the world, including United States, China, Malaysia, Canada, Europe, United Arab Emirates, and Brazil and has reached over 227,000 students.
Enabling Today, Inspiring Tomorrow
By Mark Papermaster
At my company, we believe in enabling today and inspiring for tomorrow. That’s actually the basis for our tagline at AMD, but it is also very apt for discussing the importance of STEM. AMD is a semiconductor company focused on the processing that makes high-performance computing and visualization technologies come alive in a diverse set of markets. Our heritage starts in the personal computer, but has expanded into a number of new markets and devices, including gaming consoles, medical imaging, digital signage, and much more.
My background is in engineering and I’ve spent my career working on leading edge technologies at IBM, Apple, Cisco, and now with AMD. I’ve been involved with the development of some amazing products and look forward to many more. I joined AMD because its employees and intellectual property make a tremendous difference in the industry and the world around us. The importance of science, technology, engineering, and math was instilled in me early on are important to my family, which boasts many engineers.
There’s really no better time to be involved in the technology industry, as it provides the foundation for modern life. Just think of the enabling and inspiring progress made over the last 30 years. Computer processor performance has improved 10,000 times in this timeframe. I doubt any other engineered system has ever delivered this rate of improvement.
In fact, if fuel efficiency in the US started following the engineering theory of Moore’s law beginning in 1980, then by 1994 a gallon of gas would have been enough to get from Los Angeles to New York and by 2002 that same gallon of gas would take you around the world.
In 2014 there were more than 100 semiconductors in use for every person alive. Beyond phones and computers, those exist in myriad places, from aircraft cockpit controls and displays to traffic management systems to digital billboards. Semiconductors have truly become woven into nearly every part of modern life. And this will become only more so with Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things.
Nearly every part of society – from manufacturing, to financial services, to science, education, entertainment, transportation, and beyond is dependent on the continuing adoption of ever more powerful semiconductors to drive new experiences and improve services. Not only are there new products and services arriving almost daily, but there are huge opportunities for improving efficiency. Just one example from the GeSI SMARTER 2020 study: digitally enabled systems could cut greenhouse gas emissions 16.5% by 2020, resulting in $1.9 trillion savings in energy costs.
We need to help young people see that STEM education and industries create careers that empower them to change the world, whether it is using science to solve global warming or nanotechnology for cancer research. I strongly encourage people to consider semiconductor industry careers. As semiconductor engineers, we have an unprecedented opportunity to change the world and create the future.
Today, much of the technology exists in silos, unable to effectively communicate between applications and platforms, to connect the dots that would simplify modern life. To further grow in competence and pervasiveness, technology needs to become more intuitive and emotionally intelligent. And this requires, I think, teams made up of diverse backgrounds, inclinations, and talents.
There are numerous studies on the importance of workforce diversity, but most of them can be boiled down very succinctly to diverse teams are better at solving problems. If that’s true, the message to the technology industry is clear. Since we are in the business of solving increasingly complex problems better and faster, it’s imperative we utilize the best diverse talent. The bottom line is that we need creative problem solvers who can look at a challenge for many different angles and offer inventive solutions in order to tackle the huge tests ahead of our global community in the future.
There’s a lot of focus on this now in the technology world, for bringing more women into the workforce for example, and more people from diverse backgrounds overall. Besides AMD, a number of technology companies including Intel, IBM, and Cisco have developed STEM programs and encourage diversity. And it’s not just technology giants. There are initiatives underway at multiple levels. For example, there are a new generation of toys, such as GoldieBlox, designed to spur young girls’ interest in technology and could inspire a more diverse talent pool to enter STEM fields down the line.
My own belief is that we are in the midst of a technology industry transformation that will bring substantial to how we work and play. Paired with that change will be a new kind of workforce that solves problems and develops technology in a whole different way. As new generations raised on technology become the CIOs, engineers, entrepreneurs, and inventors in their own homes, communities, and businesses our industry and world will be transformed from the inside out.