“I work for Intel, a company that is literally changing the world. That’s my main motivator.”
Sergey Papkov is an Engineering Manager for Intel Russia in Nizhny Novgorod. He has been part of Intel for more than 20 years and has a lot to share—not only about the groundbreaking technology his team is developing, but also the importance of integrity and teamwork. We asked Sergey to tell us more about his work and insights as a leader at Intel Russia.
What does your group do at Intel?
I am an Engineering Manager for the Analyzers Engineering team in Russia. We work as part of the Developer Software Engineering department. My team produces tools that software developers will use tomorrow to create their programs that will be used the day after tomorrow by people around the world. Although Intel is traditionally known for producing computer hardware, we also need to ensure that the software used on this hardware runs smoothly, without problems. That’s what my team does.
What tool are you responsible for?
I’m responsible for Intel® Advisor. It helps to design software. It’s my team’s job to fine-tune our tools. When a developer writes code, they run the program under a profiler to help find any bottlenecks or problems. Once the problem is identified, developers are able to fix it. They run the program again to see if things have improved. Intel® Advisor works like this, but during the design stage. Software designers may want to see what portions of their program will benefit from multithreading, vectorization, or from offloading to an accelerator like GPU. Intel® Advisor points to these regions and gives recommendations for improvements. It also estimates what the benefit of its own recommendations will be.
What are your main challenges?
I think that the main challenge for us is getting the right information. Intel® Advisor supports not only existing hardware that is already on the market, but also prospective hardware that hasn’t been released yet. The technical challenge is to build a performance model of new hardware and then tune the parameters. This is not easy, because there’s virtually no way we can reliably and fully check this model.
How is your work impacting the future?
In the future, everyone will be connected. We can already see this happening with the automotive infrastructure, devices, smartphones, smart chips, smart homes—everything is connected. This type of connection requires a huge amount of data to be transferred, processed, analyzed, and stored. The software that controls these processes needs to be accurate and quick. That’s where our tools come in. They are designed to help improve software design and development.
What are some other practical applications of your work?
I mostly deal with HPC, which stands for High Performance Computing. It’s used in many branches of science, including geology, weather forecasting, medical X-rays, pharmaceutical explorations, genetic model building, and mechanical engineering. Intel is currently participating in a milestone HPC project called Exascale, which is an extremely fast machine cluster able to make 10 18 floating point operations per second. Amazing!
What makes your team successful?
We have a very skillful and experienced team with extensive knowledge of software and hardware. And they learn fast. We are successful thanks to our excellent working environment and access to modern equipment. The atmosphere in the office and our relationships with our colleagues are also very positive. At Intel, we are given the opportunity to learn. We have access to training and classes, as well as day-to-day learning in a collaborative environment.
What motivates you to come to work?
I work for Intel, a company that is literally changing the world. That’s my main motivator. It’s very exciting. I feel I am contributing to positive global change. And I work with very clever colleagues. I’m just amazed at how deep their knowledge is. I’m also very grateful to my management team, who have taught me so much. There is a culture of integrity at Intel, which I appreciate. Aside from my engineering role, I am also an Intel Russia ethics and compliance champion, so honesty is very important to me.
What skills or attributes do people need to start working at Intel?
Technical skills are a must. Most of the teams in Nizhny are like ours, dealing with software development and tools production. Aside from programming, you also need soft skills, like solid communication. I think most other skills can be learned, because Intel provides training and a lot of experience-sharing opportunities. If you’re hoping to be a lead developer or tech lead, you’ll need some knowledge of developer processes like product build, testing practices and test automation, continuous integration and product validation.
What do you think makes someone a good manager?
Technical depth, patience, integrity, respect, and a readiness to help are all important. People should feel that they can reach out to you any time. A manager needs to create this feeling of psychological safety in the team and around the team. I also think a readiness to learn is vital for good leadership. The best managers are great team players.
Interested in opportunities at Intel Russia? Check out available openings here.