CSSI in the News

May 2009

Yu Receives Intel Fellowship - May 27, 2009

ECE graduate student Xiaochun Yu is a recipient of a prestigious Intel Fellowship. The highly competitive program awards only 40 fellowships annually to Ph.D. candidates at select universities who are doing leading edge work in fields related to Intel's business and research interests.

Yu, whose thesis advisor is Prof. Shawn Blanton, is a member of the Advanced Chip Test Laboratory. Her research focuses on controlling IC quality through automated diagnosis and characterization of IC failures.

Specifically, her work focuses on dynamically changing the test of an in-production design to match the failure types observed through diagnostic analysis of chip failures. This approach has potential to significantly reduce the cost of IC testing without affecting quality."

The fellowship award is for one year and will cover tuition, a stipend and travel grants. The fellowship also includes the assignment of an Intel mentor who is available to offer support and advice during the year.

Lin Awarded NVIDIA Fellowship - May 27, 2009

ECE graduate student Yen-Tzu Lin has received a fellowship from NVIDIA, the world leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), a high-performance processor that generates interactive graphics on workstations, personal computers, game consoles, and mobile devices.

Lin, whose thesis advisor is Shawn Blanton, is a member of the Advanced Chip Test Laboratory. Her research interests include VLSI test methodology development and evaluation. Her current research involves the development of cost-effective test methodologies that create high-quality test sets through utilization of the NVIDIA GPU environment.

The NVIDIA Fellowship Program provides funding to Ph.D. students who are researching topics that will lead to major advances in the graphics and digital media industry, and are investigating innovative ways of leveraging the power of the GPU.

Lin worked in circuit design and computer-aided design for Richtek and EE Solutions, Inc. before coming to Carnegie Mellon.

March 2009

Garg, Marculescu Win Best Paper - March 4, 2009

ECE graduate student Siddarth Garg and Professor Diana Marculescu have won a Best Paper Award at the upcoming 10th International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design March 16-18 in San Jose, California.

Their paper is titled "3D-GCP: An Analytical Model for the Impact of Process Variations on the Critical Path Delay Distribution of 3D ICs."

Due to variations in the manufacturing process parameters, nano-scale CMOS integrated circuits (ICs) are subject to increasing uncertainty in their performance characteristics. This paper makes the first attempt to theoretically characterize the impact of process variations on the maximum operational frequency of three dimensional (3D) ICs - an emerging IC packaging technique in which multiple dies are stacked vertically on top of each other and interconnected using through-silicon vias (TSVs).

The analysis reveals that process variations can impact 3D ICs more than their equivalent 2D implementations, a prediction that motivates the need for further research into novel variability mitigation techniques for 3D technology.

A recognition ceremony for authors will be held at a luncheon on March 17 at the conference.

February 2009

Alumnus John Cohn Delivers Plenary Talk at ISSCC - February 11, 2009

ECE alumnus John Cohn (Ph.D. 1991) once again emphasized the importance of reaching out to kids and getting them excited about science and technology in his invited plenary talk at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on February 9. Cohn's talk to an audience of 2600 echoed the plea he made to the 2008 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems held May.

An IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist of Design Automation in the IBM Systems and Technology Group in Burlington, Vermont, Cohn's passion for the past 15 years has been exploring what will motivate kids to join the engineering profession. His "Jolts and Volts" science and technology demonstration has captured headlines in USA Today and EE Times, and has captured the imagination of nearly 50,000 kids who have attended his presentations.

In his talk at ISSCC Cohn discussed data that indicates declining enrollment in engineering in countries throughout the world, with the exception of India and China. Part of the problem, Cohn feels, is the perception that kids have about the field of engineering. Studies have shown, he said, that engineers are not associated with societal concern or improving the quality of life around the world.

But rather than being an alarmist, Cohn believes, that current engineers can do something about this trend by going out into the community and getting kids excited about engineering.

Cohn cited data that shows that the generation now graduating college is more idealistic than any since the 1960s. A survey found that 85 percent of respondents in this generation now entering the workforce said it was important for them to have work that was meaningful and important, a higher percentage than cited a high salary, Cohn said.

Cohn also cited a study done between 2006 and 2008 by the National Academy of Engineering that showed that kids had only a vague idea of what engineers actually do. "They know that it is difficult and requires good math and science skills and isn't for everyone," he said. "We are just not resonating with something that is important to them."

But, just as the launch of Sputnik 50 years ago emboldened a generation of engineering students to win the space race, Cohn believes practicing engineers "can help change the conversation around the engineering profession using a new set of messages and a new set of 'Grand Challenges' based on world issues such as energy, climate and global sustainability."

Cohn earned his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon with an IBM Resident Study Fellowship, and was advised by Rob Rutenbar, Jatras Professor of ECE.

ECE's Ogras and Singhee win European Best Thesis Awards - February 3, 2009

ECE graduates Umit Y. Ogras and Amith Singhee have won 2008 Outstanding Dissertation Awards from the European Design Automation Association (EDAA). Each year, EDAA gives Outstanding Thesis awards across four areas related to design automation for integrated circuits and systems.

"Having Carnegie Mellon win half of these awards in one year is unprecedented," noted Rob A. Rutenbar, Singhee's thesis adviser. "Both of these contributions have already had major impact on the research community," adds Radu Marculescu, Ogras' thesis adviser.

Ogras thesis, "Modeling, Analysis and Optimization of Network-on-Chip Communication Architectures" won in the category of New Directions in Embedded System Design and Embedded Software.

Singhee's thesis, "Novel Algorithms for Fast Statistical Analysis of Scaled Circuits," won in the category of New Directions in Physical Design and Design for Manufacturing".

Each award consists of a 1000 Euro prize and a certificate that will be bestowed in April 2009 at the Design Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) Conference in Nice, France.

Janurary 2009

Rob Rutenbar Elected ACM Fellow - January 22, 2009

Rob A. Rutenbar, Jatras Professor of ECE and CS, was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Class of 2008 for contributions to computer-aided design tools for mixed-signal integrated circuits.

Rutenbar is widely known for his contributions to computer-aided design (CAD) algorithms and software for mixed-signal integrated circuits and for the contributions that his company, Neolinear, has made to the industry. He has also been recognized numerous times for his contributions to education.

Rutenbar is one of 44 ACM Fellows named this year, three from Carnegie Mellon.

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