Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

ACAL Receives Microprocessor Report Analyst’s Choice Award for Innovation   Bookmark and Share

The Advanced Computer Architecture Laboratory (ACAL) received a 2006 MPR Analysts’ Choice Award in the newly created category, Innovation. ACAL was named with industrial partner ARM, Ltd. for introducing and implementing the technology called Razor, which MPR believes “is relevant to power consumption and the concept of future computing in general.”

Razor is a novel design methodology that eliminates the safety margins and uses self-checking mechanisms to ensure computational correctness in presence of errors. Thus, it represents a radical departure from the traditional design paradigm of "worst-case" and "always-correct" to "typical-case" and "usually-correct". Using in situ error detection and correction mechanisms, a "Razor"-ed pipeline is able to dynamically adjust its supply voltage or frequency to operate at exact point of failure. Since its inception in 2003, Razor has consistently evolved over the years.

MPR stated that they are making the award on the basis of ARM, Ltd’s announcement that it is planning to implement the technology.

Principle architects of Razor and the ACAL/ARM collaboration are Profs. Todd Austin, David Blaauw, and Trevor Mudge, the Bredt Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In additional, several ACAL students and alumni have been involved in the research. Krisztián Flautner, director of advanced research at ARM, completed his dissertation under Mudge. Current students, such as Shidhartha Das, are working with ARM on a prototype of the razor technology.

For additional information about the ACAL/ARM partnership, which is specifically targeting wireless and low-power computing, see a recent article published in the EECS News: Fall/Winter 2006, pp. 4-5.

Additional Information:

MPR Innovation Award – Razor (requires membership to access)
IEEE Computer Magazine Feature Article, 2004
Razor research presented at MICRO-36 (2003): received Best Paper Award