Computer architecture, parallel computing, microprocessor and VLSI circuit design, and on-chip interconnection networks, bitcoin.
Professor Taylor directs the UCSD Center for Dark Silicon, which focuses on the most important technological challenge that computer engineers face today. Dark Silicon is caused by the utilization wall, which states that, with each new process generation, the percentage of transistors that a chip can switch at full frequency is dropping exponentially due to power constraints. This has led to increasingly larger and larger fractions of a chip's silicon area that must remain passive, or dark. The GreenDroid project, jointly led by Prof. Taylor and Prof. Swanson, attacks this dark silicon problem directly through a set of energy-saving accelerators, called Conservation Cores, or c-cores. C-cores are a post-multicore approach that constructively uses dark silicon to reduce the energy consumption of an application by 10x or more. To examine the utility of c-cores, they are developing GreenDroid, a multicore chip that targets the Android mobile stack. Their mobile application processor prototype targets a 32-nm process and is comprised of hundreds of automatically generated, specialized, patchable c-cores.
Taylor also leads the Kremlin project, which attacks a fundamental source of unused silicon in multicore systems: the enormous programmer effort required to parallelize applications. Kremlin is a software engineering tool that, given a serial program, tells users which regions they should parallelize. It also provides an approximate upperbound on how much speedup programmers can expect after they have parallelized the code. Taylor's group pioneered the novel hierarchical critical path analysis (HCPA) technique used in Kremlin. Professor Taylor served as lead architect of the 16-core Raw tiled multicore processor, one of the earliest multicore processors (2002), which contained approximately 110 Million transistors, and was perhaps the largest academic processor chip prototype of its time. This work foreshadowed industry's shift to multicore. Over the next few years, 16-core processors will appear as products from Intel and AMD.
Taylor is also an expert on bitcoin.
Michael B. Taylor has been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego since 2006. Prior to his research on GreenDroid, Kremlin, SD-VBS, and Raw, he co-authored the first version of the Connectix VirtualPC x86-to-PowerPC translator, and hacked microkernels at Apple. He was awarded the NSF CAREER Award in 2009 and the Intel Foundation Ph.D. Fellowship in 2003. Taylor received a Ph.D. in EECS from MIT in 2007, and an A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1996. He has been coding for 86% of his life.