University of Rochester

$1.5 Million for Chip Designs Comes to New York Universities

February 4, 2003

Five new university research projects have been selected by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and the University of Rochester's Microelectronics Design Center (MDC) for $1.5 million in research funding. Recipients are faculty members of five New York universities: University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Binghamton University, and the University at Buffalo.

The two University of Rochester awards went to Eby G. Friedman, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Martin Margala, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Friedman is working to enhance the various global networks (such as clock and power networks) that control an integrated circuit. As the speeds of modern chips increase, the way they work must be modified. Networks on the chips, such as those that send out a timing signal, or those that distribute power throughout the chip, need to be more precise than ever. Friedman is planning to develop new ways to control these networks so they operate more effectively and efficiently than previously.

Margala, in collaboration with P. R. Mukund, professor of electrical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Shambhu Upadhyaya, professor of computer science and engineering at the University at Buffalo, is developing ways to better test integrated circuits as they become more complex. In the next decade or so, chips will incorporate entire systems, such as radio transmitters or receivers, digital cameras, and chemical or biological detectors. Chips may even be able to wirelessly communicate with each other, all of which makes the necessary task of testing a chip extremely difficult. Margala, Mukund and Upadhyaya plan to create a method of testing such dense and diverse chips in an economical and high-speed manner.

Each research effort is scheduled to receive $100,000 per year for three years.

SRC, an international research consortium based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and MDC, based in Rochester, pooled their funds and solicited proposals from universities throughout New York State. Of 22 proposals, five were chosen for funding.

"We are pleased to work with MDC and the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR) to create a program that will benefit SRC member companies, New York State, and the academic community," said William H. Joyner, Jr., director of Computer-Aided Design and Test at SRC. "Though we were only able to support a limited number of projects at this time, we look forward to working together to continue and expand this relationship."

Friedman, director of MDC, said: "We are delighted to work with SRC. Our collaboration with SRC represents a vote of confidence both in our center and in the high quality microelectronics design research being accomplished here in New York State. This interaction puts us in closer touch with the needs of SRC member companies and will promote a generation of new product applications of our research and, more importantly, new researchers focused on microelectronic circuit research."

SRC is a not-for-profit consortium of semiconductor manufacturing companies and their suppliers. The consortium manages the largest continuous industry-driven university research program in the United States. Currently, SRC sponsors research conducted at 70 universities in the United States and abroad. Since 1982, SRC has funded more than $500 million in long-term semiconductor research contracts on behalf of its member companies.

MDC, a virtual center of public and private universities in New York sponsored by the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research, seeks to support work in integrated circuit design at New York universities, which fosters economic growth and job creation in the state and the state's high tech business community. Formed in 2001, the center supports 30 researchers at 12 universities, working in partnership with 14 companies.