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November 12, 2012

AMD Shuts down Dresden Research Center, Lays off 25 German Workers

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

In an effort to reduce operating costs, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD (News - Alert)) has shut down its Germany-based operating system research center (OSRC) that was used to develop Linux kernels optimized for AMD microprocessors. The Dresden center was founded in April 2006 to help bridge the worldwide AMD processor design community with the OS development community, and it played a key role in ensuring that the next gen AMD solutions supported Linux.

Duties that the OSRC was mandated with include OS virtualization, memory management, multi-core scheduling and performance measuring that made better use of multi-core architectures. Additionally, the German team helped integrate important changes for AMD platforms into Red Hat (News - Alert) Enterprise and Suse Linux Enterprise distributions, and they also worked on open source virtualization solutions such as Xen hypervisor.

Further, the OSRC staff looked after the code that supports PowerNow and Turbo Core technologies for CPU frequency scaling, as well as contributed code designed to optimize the Linux kernel on 64-bit AMD chips. The 25-member was reportedly responsible for the recent code contributions to the Linux kernel, which now leaves Linux support for the AMD platform uncertain. 

Not the entire team though has been let go; a small division that is responsible for developing open source drivers for AMD’s graphic processors and accelerated processing units (APUs) has been left intact. It now seems that the Texas-based U.S. team will have to take over the job after the departure of the German team.

According to a report from AMD, the move to shut down research operations in Dresden is “not a reflection on the outstanding strengths of Dresden but was merely driven by business realties on a global scale.” AMD confirmed that it will continue manufacturing a bulk of its global microprocessor production in Dresden and work closely with its foundry partner there, Globalfoundries.

AMD plans to lay off 15 percent of its workforce this quarter in order to reach $1.3 billion break-even operating costs in 2013. The move comes after AMD posted $157 million in losses and a subsequent loss in share price.

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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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