How to Be a Fearless Engineer with Cerebras Systems Founder and CEO Andrew Feldman

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“We’d solved an extraordinarily hard problem. And to see it run was breathtaking. It was such an awesome moment where every ounce of what you’ve put in is now alive and working.”


Innovators don’t see limitations – they see challenges. And that’s exactly what happened when Andrew Feldman and his team at Cerebras Systems were told that it was impossible to build a computer chip that could deliver the same performance as hundreds of graphics processing units. They tackled that challenge head-on, and have created the CS-2, the fastest AI computer in existence. This mega-sized chip is being used to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. None of this would have been possible without a bit of audacity and what Andrew calls “fearless engineering”. Dive into the thought process of a status-quo challenger on this episode of IT Visionaries.

Key Insights


If People Think You’re Crazy, You’re Probably on the Right Track 

Every great innovation had its doubters, and Cerebras’s new chip was one of those innovations. But it’s important to remember that everything is impossible until it’s done, so if people look at you like you’re crazy… you’re in good company. 

“It wasn’t just that [we] made it bigger. It was that nobody had ever built a chip bigger than about 800 square millimeters. And we come along and say ‘yeah, we have this idea, guys… we can build one at 46,000 millimeters’. And people looked at us like we were crazy – it involved solving a huge number of technical challenges that had never been before been solved.”

Everyone knows creating new tech can be a financially rewarding thing to do. However – if you’re looking for a real reward, it’s important to look at the big picture.

“Our system has been deployed at Argonne National Labs, at Livermore, at the National Labs at the Pittsburgh Center for Super Computing in Europe… at Total energies for Energy Exploration and Clean Energy Development. It is enormously rewarding when you see your passion, your work, every ounce of your soul solving important problems. That’s why we do this.”  

It’s Going to Take a Little Fearlessness 

If you want to be a groundbreaking engineer, it’s going to take guts in ways you might not have thought about. 

“When you do fearless engineering, you’re not afraid of screwing up…you’re afraid of not learning, not getting better.”

About the Guest:

Andrew is one of the Founders of Cerebras Systems. Their flagship product, the CS-2, is the fastest AI computer in existence. It contains a collection of industry firsts, including the Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine (WSE-2) –  the largest chip ever built.  Prior to co-founding Cerebras Systems, he was co-founder and CEO of SeaMicro. SeaMicro (acquired by AMD for $355 million) was the pioneer in low power server technology. Before then he served as Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at Force10 (acquired by Dell for $800 Million) Networks, and Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Corporate Development for Riverstone Networks (NASDAQ: RSTN) from inception through IPO.

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Episode 367