Home / Tech / The star Apple engineer behind its Swift programming language just left Google and went to a new job at hot AI startup SiFive

The star Apple engineer behind its Swift programming language just left Google and went to a new job at hot AI startup SiFive

Chris Lattner

  • In January, the legendary former Apple engineer Chris Lattner left Google and joined the artificial intelligence chip startup SiFive
  • Lattner is now serving as senior vice president of platform engineering at SiFive, an AI chip startup.
  • Lattner is most famous for creating Apple’s popular iOS programming language Swift.
  • After leaving Apple in 2017, he served a short stint at Tesla and then worked at Google for two and a half years, working on TensorFlow, the popular open source AI framework created by Google. 
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Chris Lattner, the legendary former Apple engineer known for creating its popular iOS programming language Swift, has left Google for the artificial intelligence chip startup SiFive.

Lattner worked for nearly 12 years at Apple, where he was responsible for Swift as well as tools used to program in the language, like Xcode and Swift Playgrounds. Since Swift first launched in 2014, it has quickly picked up in popularity among Apple fans and iOS developers, and is now used in over 500,000 apps on the App Store, including Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Square.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the SiFive team and for the opportunity to work with a company that is enabling the future of silicon, all the way from idea to silicon,” Lattner said in a press release dated January 27th.

Lattner joined SiFive in January as its senior vice president of platform engineering, where he will build the software infrastructure that supports the startup’s AI chips. SiFive, an upstart challenger to titans like Intel and AMD in the market for chips optimized for AI, has raised $129.56 million from investors like Sutter Hill Ventures, Spark Capital, and Samsung Venture Investment.

“SiFive is on a mission to democratize access to custom silicon, and innovative leaders in the industry are taking notice,” Dr. Naveed Sherwani, president and CEO of SiFive, said in the release. “Chris has made significant contributions to the software used by millions of developers today. This is a significant period of strategic growth for us, and we are thrilled to welcome Chris to our product engineering practice.”

Most recently, Lattner had been working at Google for the past two and a half years, where he was a senior director working on TensorFlow, the popular open source AI framework created by Google. He continued using Swift at this job, where he started and led the Swift for TensorFlow project.

Before that, after leaving Apple in 2017, Lattner served a brief, six-month stint at Tesla, where he headed its autopilot software. Business Insider previously reported that a source said that while Lattner enjoyed his job at Tesla, he did not get along with CEO Elon Musk. Google nabbed him shortly after.

Besides Swift, Lattner also created the high-profile LLVM infrastructure project.

Business Insider has reached out to Google for comment.

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SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about TensorFlow, Google’s own home-made AI software that’s now helping NASA discover planets and beating champions at Go

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