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April - 2000 - issue > Cover Feature

Vinod Dham

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vinod Dham is popularly known as the “Father of the Pentium chip” developed by microprocessing giant Intel. Few executives can claim to have played seminal roles in the development of two microprocessors. Dham can, because he went on to play a lead role in the development of the K6 chip developed at Advanced Micro Devices, virtually the only competitor to Intel in the microprocessor industry.
And none of it may have happened but for Dham’s older brother.

As a teenager, Dham was fascinated by physics. Although he planned to pursue an undergraduate degree in that subject at Delhi University, where he was accepted to the B.Sc. Physics Honors course, his brother talked him out of the idea.

He told Vinod that he would end up “selling bananas” if he continued toward his projected goal of getting a Ph. D in physics. Instead, his brother said, Vinod should study engineering — specifically electrical engineering — a subject that was then growing more and more important.

Dham spent a long 16 years at Intel during which time he not only led the development of the Pentium chip but also held charge of the processor lines. He counts Intel CEO Andy Grove as the person who most influenced him.

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