Apple hires group of UK GPU engineers

March 21, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Apple's efforts to design its own graphics processing cores appear to have been ramped up with a pulse of hiring of people that had immediately previously worked for Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England), according to profiles on LinkedIn.

The pulse of hiring took place in the second-half of 2016 and on top of the engineers, notable departures from Imagination included the former chief operating officer John Metcalfe and the executive vice president for PowerVR engineering Martin Ashton although the latter went to Intel rather than Apple.

PowerVR is Imagination's family of graphics processing units (GPUs). Apple has used PowerVR cores in its A-series application processors but it has long been speculated that Apple had moved to customizing PowerVR GPU architecture cores under an architectural license or even designing its own GPUs for its A-series processors. Apple has also been a minority shareholder in Imagination for many years. However, it should also be noted that at least two of the engineers taken on by Apple have the job title of "GPU architect."

The LinkedIn record shows that in June 2016 John Metcalfe left his position as chief operating officer of Imagination and started in July 2016 as a senior director for Apple. The entry does not indicate what he is directing.

Other recent movers from Imagination to Apple documented by LinkedIn include:

Benjamin Bowman, who had 17 years' experience at Imagination as a senior software engineering manager and has represented Imagination at the Khronos Group. Bowman started with Apple in August 2016 as GPU architect.

Ali Rabbani, who had six-years of experience at Imagination as a hardware engineering manager. Rabbani started with Apple in October 2016 as a GPU architect.

Daniel Sanders, who had 10 years of experience at Imagination as a software design engineer started with Apple in September 2016 as a compiler engineer.

Steve Fishwick, who had more than eight years of experience at Imagination mainly as a graphics research engineer, joined Apple in October 2016 with the job title "platform engineer."

There are at least three other engineers with PowerVR experience that joined Apple in October 2016.

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