News Release

Pioneer in Physical Design of Integrated Circuits Named ACM Fellow

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Andrew B. Kahng has been named an ACM Fellow. 

San Diego, Calif., Dec. 12, 2012 -- Andrew B. Kahng, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, San Diego, has been named one of 52 Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery for 2012.

The organization, which is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, recognizes the Fellows for their contributions to computing that are fundamentally advancing technology in healthcare, cybersecurity, science, communications, entertainment, business and education.  Kahng, who holds the Endowed Chair in High-Performance Computing at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, was recognized for “contributions to physical design automation and to design for manufacturability of microelectronic systems.” He is a pioneer in the physical design of integrated circuits, as well as in the field known today as integrated-circuit design for manufacturability.

The Fellows personify the highest achievements in computing research and development from the world’s leading universities, corporations and research labs, with innovations that are driving economic growth in the digital environment, the ACM said in its press release.

“These men and women are advancing the art and science of computing with enormous impacts for how we live and work,” said ACM President Vinton G. Cerf.  “The impact of their contributions highlights the role of computing in creating advances that range from commonplace applications to extraordinary breakthroughs, and from the theoretical to the practical.”

Kahng is a leader in multiple efforts to ensure that Moore’s Law—which states transistor counts and clock speeds on microprocessors, memory, and other chips will double roughly every two years—remains true.

His research interests include the design of low-power and resilient systems; integrated-circuit physical design and performance analysis; the interface of design and manufacturing for integrated circuits; combinatorial algorithms and optimization; and the roadmapping of systems and technology.

He co-invented in 2003 a technology that significantly reduces the amount of energy wasted by chips in computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices and that is now widely used in numerous applications such as network processors, Internet routers and the graphics processing units that are found in personal computers, tablets and game consoles. The technology, developed with Puneet Gupta, who was then Kahng’s student and is now a professor at UCLA, subtly modifies the dimensions of transistors, the tiny switches that control the flow of electricity in an integrated circuit. This approach, known as “gate-length biasing,” exploits the fact that slower transistors leak less power. The invention essentially ensures that transistors on a chip are as slow as possible without affecting performance. 

Last year, the technology passed the trillion watt-hour milestone in energy savings, according to the technology’s current licensee, Tela Innovations. With residential energy costs at just over 11 cents per kilowatt hour, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the savings are significant and growing, so far totaling well over $100 million that consumers haven’t been charged on their electricity bills.

Kahng also is a leader in "technology roadmapping" efforts that help rationalize research spending. Since 2000, he has been chair of the Design technology working group for the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. ITRS is sponsored by the major semiconductor consortia of North America, Europe, and the Far East, and also is backed by key manufacturers, suppliers, government organizations, and universities.

Kahng joined the Jacobs School faculty in 2001, and currently heads up the UCSD VLSI CAD Laboratory. Before coming to the Jacobs School, Kahng was on the faculty at UCLA. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science at UC San Diego in 1989.

Kahng is the co-author of three books and over 400 journal and conference papers, and holds 22 issued U.S. patents. Ph.D. graduates from his research group have gone on to become faculty members at the University of Michigan, UCLA, the University of Virginia and Brown University. 

Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering