Kurt Keutzer

AI Faculty Partner, since 2018

What's a little-known secret about you?
I used various computer techniques to validate an important Tibetan text that was for over 100 years believed to be lost.
Who is your dream dinner party guest?
Surprising fact
Each year of my life is twice as interesting as the one before.

I love working with Cameron and Jeremy. You just won't find more passionate and dedicated VCs.


Kurt Keutzer received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Indiana University in 1984 and then joined the research division of AT&T Bell Laboratories. In 1991 he joined Synopsys, Inc. where he ultimately became Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice-President of Research. In 1998 Kurt became Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley.

Kurt's research group is currently focused on using parallelism to accelerate the training and deployment of Deep Neural Networks for applications in computer vision, speech recognition, multi-media analysis, and computational finance. Kurt has published six books, over 250 refereed articles, and is among the most highly cited authors in Hardware and Design Automation. Kurt was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 1996.

Kurt's earlier research has had a lasting impact on Electronic Design Automation. For example, at the 50th Design Automation Conference Kurt received a number of awards reflecting achievements over the 50 year history of the conference. These awards included for "Top Ten Cited Author", "Top Ten Cited Paper" and he was also recognized as among one of only three people to have received four Best Paper Awards in the history of the conference.

While at Synopsys he worked with the General Counsel to co-develop the company's intellectual property strategy. Since joining Berkeley he has consulted directly with high-tech companies to do assessments of large (100+ patent) portfolios to assess their defensibility and monetary value. He has also worked, as time has allowed, as an IP consultant on individual patent infringement cases with many of Silicon Valley's top IP law firms.

As an angel investor Kurt has participated in the capital formation of twelve start-up companies including Coverity and Tensilica. Of these twelve, six have already seen profitable exits and two are still independent and growing. Kurt has also served as an advisor to nine other start-ups including two that went on to become public companies.

Pressed with finding an outside minor during his doctoral studies Kurt chose Tibetan studies. He has continued that research interest to this day, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. Working with Zach Rowinski, the two have developed an optical character recognition system for Tibetan script. The Namsel system has OCR'd over one-million pages of Tibetan texts and the results are available at TBRC. Kurt has also published two journal articles on the Bon tradition of Tibet in Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines.

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