Portrait of Andrew Putnam

Andrew Putnam

Principal Research Hardware Development Engineer


I am a Principal Research Hardware Design Engineer in the Microsoft Research Technologies (MSR-T) lab (formerly the eXtreme Computing Group (XCG)). My research interests focus on accelerating data center applications with novel hardware such as FPGAs, and on the design of energy-efficient computer architectures. At data center scales, every detail matters, and every improvement (and mistake) is magnified by orders-of-magnitude.

My most recent work has been as one of the founding members of the Microsoft Catapult project. I’ve developed customized computing architectures for FPGAs, written compilers and assemblers for those architectures, and handled board design, manufacturing, and testing. I’ve partnered with numerous research and product groups, both internal and external to Microsoft, to identify and solve tough and important problems that can’t be solved by incremental improvements.

My research runs the spectrum from the blue-skies exploration to nitty-gritty, practical engineering. I strongly believe in seeing promising research through to prototypes and possibly even production. I love to build hardware and systems, and through building I uncover answers to hidden problems — such as cost, power, and reliability — which conventional research cannot always address but that are critical to turning research into reality.