Former student receives best paper award at design automation conference

Zhuo _FengRecently a former student in the computer engineering and systems group at Texas A&M University received the prestigious 2013 Design Automation Conference (DAC) best paper award.

Dr. Zhuo Feng, an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University, received the award for his paper, “Scalable Vectorless Power Grid Current Integrity Verification.” This paper was the sole best paper award winner selected from eight nominated candidates, 162 accepted technical papers and 747 papers submitted this year. 

Feng's paper is the first work that tries to address the grand challenges in vectorless power grid electromigration (EM) verification which is becoming increasingly important for designing reliable PDNs of future integrated circuit (IC) systems. In this work, Feng proposed a scalable vectorless power grid current integrity verification framework based on the ideas of PDE-constrained multilevel optimization methods. To facilitate more accurate and efficient vectorless current integrity verification, a novel EM-aware power grid reduction method is also proposed. As a result, the challenging current integrity verification tasks can be efficiently tackled by first performing comprehensive coarse-level current verifications to identify a few top "hot-spot" wires or regions that exhibit the largest current densities, and subsequently going through a few fine-level solution refinement steps to compute the more accurate worst case current distributions for the original power grid designs. This novel vectorless verification framework scales comfortably with large problems and allows designers to effectively trade off the overall computational cost and the final verification solution quality, which, therefore, can be used to attack much larger verification problems than ever before.

Feng received the B.Eng. degree in information engineering from Xi'an Jiaotong University (China) in 2003, the M.Eng. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the National University of Singapore in 2005 and the Ph.D. in computer engineering from Texas A&M in 2009 under the supervision of Dr. Peng Li.

Feng began working for Michigan Technological University in July 2009. His research interests include integrated circuit modeling and simulations, parallel heterogeneous computing, and verification of large-scale power delivery networks. He received two ACM/IEEE William J. McCalla ICCAD Best Paper Award Nominations in 2006 and 2008.

The Design Automation Conference is considered as the premier event for the design of electronic circuits and systems, electronic design automation and embedded systems and software. More than 6,000 people attended this year’s conference.