Co-developer of Intel’s Pentium processor, Avtar Saini, died tragically while riding a bicycle in Navi Mumbai

29th February 2024
  • Bngalore
Co-developer of Intel’s Pentium processor, Avtar Saini, died tragically   while riding a bicycle in Navi Mumbai
The core team behind the Pentium Processor: Intel's then CEO Andy Grove with Vinod Dham, Avtar Saini and John Crawford. Photo courtesy Linked In, Dr Satya Gupta

India-born, and largely US-based Avtar Saini,   credited with the   key development  processes of   Intel's   Pentium processor   in the early 1980s, died tragically in Mumbai in the early hours of  February 28.

Resident in Mumbai for some time now, Saini – an enthusiastic bicyclist – had joined a group of other cycling enthusiasts on a ride from the Mumbai suburb of Chembur  to Kharghar near Panvel,  about  18 kms away.  He was hit by a taxi cab in Navi Mumbai and died before his friends could reach him to a hospital.

Saini, 68,  obtained his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute, Mumbai, and his M.S. from the University of Minnesota. He joined  Intel in 1982 as a Product Engineer  specializing in magnetic bubble memories.  In the  early 1980s worked as a circuit designer on the Intel 386,  Intel 486 processors and in 1989, was designated  co-leader of the team that was to develop the Pentium  processor. The  leader was another Indian – Vinod Dham.

Saini was largely responsible for taking the Pentium to production and was then closely involved in Intel’s transition to 64 bit processors as  General Manager of the Santa Clara Microprocessor Division.

In 1999, Saini moved to  Bangalore as Director of Intel South Asia, headquartered in India and was  responsible for creating Intel’s India Development Centre, where  his earlier  work on 64 bit processors culminated in the joint development, across India and the US of the Itanium chip.

His work earned him 5 US patents.

He served as a Vice President of the company till he left in 2004.  immediately known when he returned to India.

In 2017, he joined the director board of  the  Ahmedabad and Santa Clara ( US) -based, Indian talent fuelled  chip design company eInfochips.

Varghese  Thomas, who headed corporate communications in Bangalore for Intel during Saini’s tenure as Director writes in Facebook:

“I had the privilege of collaborating with Avtar on various events and PR initiatives, where he consistently served as a source of inspiration, particularly for someone like myself who entered Intel with a limited technological background. He possessed a commanding presence yet remained grounded to his core.”

This has appeared in New India Abroad
Also see Times of India story