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March 04, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Thomas Zacharia joins Advanced Micro Devices as Senior Vice President

The announcement of his new role overseeing Strategic Technical Partnerships and Public Policy comes 14 months after he retired from ORNL.

Thomas Zacharia reminded us in an email of a question that we asked him soon after his retirement as Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). It was at a weekly meeting in January 2023 of the East Tennessee Economic Council, and the question was a simple one: “So, what comes next?”

The answer has just been revealed with the announcement Monday that he started a new role at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) as Senior Vice President for Strategic Technical Partnerships and Public Policy. In that position, Zacharia will lead the global expansion of AMD’s public/private relationships with governments, NGOs (non-government organizations), and other organizations to help fast-track the deployment of AMD-powered artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to meet a rapidly growing number of global projects and applications targeting the deployment of AI for the public good.

“Thomas is a distinguished leader with decades of experience successfully creating public/private partnerships that have resulted in consistently deploying the world’s most powerful and advanced computing solutions, including the world’s fastest supercomputer Frontier,” said Lisa Su, AMD Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “As the former Director of the U.S.’s largest multi-program science and energy research lab, Thomas is uniquely positioned to leverage his extensive experience advancing the frontiers of science and technology to help countries around the world deploy AMD-powered AI solutions for the public good.”

Thomas Zacharia

In the email exchange ahead of the  announcement on Monday afternoon, Zacharia noted that it had been his privilege to advocate for and advance U.S. leadership in science, technology, and public policy throughout his 35-year career at ORNL where he was clearly the visionary for the high performance computing program that has consistently delivered on a series of the world’s fastest computers.

“I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and excited to embark on this new chapter,” he told us. “Joining a company with an exceptional technology roadmap driving high-performance AI and HPC (high performance computing) systems presents an extraordinary opportunity to make a global impact, especially as we witness the convergence of the AI revolution with advancements in clean energy, synthetic biology and robotics. Together, these technologies underpin a sustainable future.”

For more than 50 years AMD has driven innovation in high-performance computing, graphics and visualization technologies. Billions of people, leading Fortune 500 businesses and cutting-edge scientific research institutions around the world rely on AMD technology daily to improve how they live, work and play.

“AMD’s outstanding team and commitment to deep partnerships represents an incredible opportunity to accelerate the AI revolution alongside our partners, shaping a brighter future,” Zacharia said. “It is about empowering every person and every organization to achieve more and to realize their dreams, to change the world!”

He also told us that he wanted to take “a moment to express my gratitude for the privilege of serving ORNL and East Tennessee for 35 years. I hope I can be a bridge between the Oak Ridge corridor and Silicon Valley. I am looking forward to partnering in new ways and continuing to make a positive impact.”

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