From There to Here, and Beyondby Dr. Ian Cutress on February 18, 2022 9:50 AM EST
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I’ll be the first to admit, I had no history with AnandTech before I joined. It was by sheer chance, meeting one of the writers at an overclocking event, that led me to first become a reader, then a writer, to what has become my career in journalism. If you’re new to AnandTech then welcome! It’s been my home for over a decade, where we’ve always had the goal of pushing the boundaries for all things technical and engineering-related. For all the old hands - I know many of you work at the companies we report on around the industry, and we’ve been forever glad for your continued support and interactions. Long may it continue, especially in an industry that is slowly consolidating around a few key players, both in technical and publishing – for as long as the audience demands it, AnandTech will aim to provide.
Personally, I was always into computers, but it was overclocking that got me into hardware. Not just getting more frames in my games, but actual competitive overclocking, trying to get the best scores in the world. People liken it to the Formula 1 or car tuning, when in reality it feels like drag racing – 8 hours of preparation for a 10 seconds quarter mile. Studying chemistry at the time, on the surface there seemed to be not much more than a little overlap, except for a desire to learn more about what I was doing, the why, and how it all worked. That oblivious-yet-determined manner led to Rajinder Gill, senior motherboard editor at the time, suggesting that Anand bring me on as a freelancer back in 2010. Initially with news, I transitioned into Rajinder’s role rather quickly after he left, and starting from the Sandy Bridge launch in early 2011, I spent the next five years reviewing motherboards at AnandTech as my day job after graduating my PhD. I still look back on my first proper motherboard review, the ASRock P67 Extreme4, with rose-tinted spectacles. It was a great board for the time, and I still have it in my collection.
That’s what got me to AnandTech, and after 11 years I feel the need to change, so I have decided to take up a new position in the industry. When Anand left in 2014, after 18 years at the helm, I was still quite green in my role and didn’t really take his words to heart at the time. Looking back at them today, I see a lot of parallels, even though I’ve never sat in that senior role. Since Anand left, I was promoted to Senior CPU Editor, and Ryan Smith has taken the Editor-in-Chief role with grace and poise – he’s consistently talked me down from a ledge when this industry has piled on, and all I’ve wanted to do is lash out! After Anand left, it was Ryan who brought me on as a full-time employee, and helped navigate AnandTech through two acquisitions, to where the brand currently sits today with Future. Despite being (roughly) the same age, Ryan has been a mentor and a director for a lot of the content I’ve written, for which I’m very thankful. I hope he knows how much it has meant over the years.
I’ve really enjoyed working at AnandTech. I love getting my teeth into the latest technical details, and getting advance briefings from the researchers never ceases to be a great pleasure of mine. It doesn’t matter whether that’s for an upcoming product, attending technical IEEE conferences, or for Hot Chips talk, or seeing inside the secret R&D room at Computex. In a lot of ways, my academic experience has overlapped with my coverage that I would never have predicted - we're on the cusp of finding out how we need More Than Moore's Law in the modern era. My travel in 2019 topped 200,000 miles, which doesn’t really bother me in the slightest, as I’ve been able to meet and discuss with key industry movers and shakers. A crowning moment was talking AMD into making its 64-core Threadripper into a better price the evening before the announcement. Or biting one of Intel’s 10nm wafers. Being able to travel around and visit companies has shown me just how many amazing people and stories there are in our industry, and it’s a shame there aren’t enough hours in the day to focus on them all, as I know a lot of you would want to hear about them. I hope I've also been able to bring a little bit of humor and fun to my content too.
If there’s one thing that has remained through all that time, it’s the dedication of AnandTech’s writers to provide as many detailed technical write-ups as we can. Over the years I’ve worked with some incredible talent, especially Andrei, and I’ve managed individuals that I’ve seen improve leaps and bounds, especially Gavin who now leads our motherboard coverage. Big shoutouts go to the rest of the team over the years: Ryan, Brett, Ganesh, Billy, Kristian, Tracy, Anton, Joe, Matt, Matt, Josh, Nate, Rajinder, Gary, Virginia, and Howard. You’ve all meant a lot to me in so many different ways. Then there’s also the audience, who have always provided copious feedback, either here, on social media, or through our email conversations. Please don’t stop giving all of us constructive criticism on how to do our jobs better, regardless of where we are or who we work for.
As for me, I’m finding new ventures: a mixture of behind-the-scenes and public-facing opportunities, as well as continued consulting, but still within this tech industry that we love to analyze. We're on the cusp of finding out how we need More Than Moore's Law in the modern era. I’ll still be that loud voice on Twitter, criticizing every financial disclosure and presentation, and if you’re interested in what I’m doing next, then I’m likely to announce my future roles over there or on LinkedIn in short course. While today is my final day at AnandTech, don't be surprised if my name pops up again here over the next week or two, as I’ve prepared some content in advance, including our AMD Rembrandt review and an interview with Raja Koduri. Stay tuned for those.
To all of the readers over the years, thank you so much for this opportunity. I couldn’t have done it without you. I hope that you’ll continue to give all the AnandTech writers the support you have shown me.
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Nebuchadnezzar#1 - Monday, February 21, 2022 - linkSigned up solely to say, thank you for al your great articles and good luck going forward Ian. See you on tech tech potato.
Meteor2 - Monday, February 21, 2022 - linkYou'll be much missed, I can tell you. Good luck in your next endeavours!
Meteor2 - Monday, February 21, 2022 - linkThough as others have said, with Andrei leaving, no GPU reviews since 2019, and now you leaving, it's hard to see a future for Anandtech.
Oxford Guy - Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - linkThere have to be GPUs to review.
FunBunny2 - Monday, February 21, 2022 - linkIt seems logical that a Ph.D. in some field would want to work in that field, rather than write about it for some innterTubes blog site. New York Times or, even better, The Times of London, may be interesting in later years. You've got some ways to go yet.
mode_13h - Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - linkMy previous boss has a Ph.D. in compilers. After completing his doctorate, he spent a few years running benchmarks and writing articles for a niche tech magazine. Even after eventually getting into software development, he never did do anything with compilers.
I applaud Ian's unconventional path, and we've all benefited from it. However, you're right that he has more potential. And actually working in the industry he's covered would certainly give him even deeper insights.
DanNeely - Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - linkA lot of Science PHDs end up going into fields that are only vaguely related beyond needing the ability to do independent research and complex analysis. Universities graduate far more people with PHDs in most fields than there are jobs needing that specific degree.
Oxford Guy - Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - linkThat is the exact opposite of the argument made by major corporations, when trying to get relaxation of VISA requirements and a transformation of K-12 education to be more vocational training than humanities-oriented.
These companies claim that not enough people are learning STEM, at least in the USA.
DanNeely - Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - linkMost of those companies don't want PHDs. For routine engineering work a BS/MS is sufficient and they're worried that a PHD will A) be bored with how simple the work is and quit; or B) be too ivory tower to be effective in the real world.
mode_13h - Wednesday, February 23, 2022 - linkWith the rise of fields like computer vision and data science, it's getting more common to see job postings requiring a Ph.D. in the *corresponding* field.
You have a point, though. For positions not requiring/preferring a Ph.D., there's often a bias against them. They tend to be more expensive and there's a concern they'll be more biased towards formal methods and less quick to embrace pragmatic solutions.
My experience has run somewhat counter to this, with many Ph.D.s having written lots of throw-away code, in the course of their research. The goal of research, after all, is to quickly eliminate all of the possible solutions that don't work. So, it makes sense to take a rapid-prototyping approach, rather than going to the extra effort of embracing the best software engineering practices used in commercial software development. However, far more important than the degree is the disposition of the person holding it. I've worked with a couple Ph.D.s that are well above average, in their approach to software development.