ACAL and AI Graduate Students Take Top Honors at ISPD 2007 Contest

CSE students Jarrod Roy of the Advanced Computer Architecture Lab (ACAL) and Michael Moffitt of the Artificial Intelligence Lab (AI) were honored on Tuesday, March 20 at the ACM International Symposium on Physical Design (ISPD) in Austin, Texas for their winning entries in the inaugural Global Routing Contest held at the Symposium.

Jarrod Roy's router, “Fairly Good Router” (FGR), took first place in the two-dimensional (2D) category and ranked third in the three-dimensional (3D) category. Michael Moffitt's router MaizeRoute took first place in the 3D category and was second in the 2D category. Both Roy and Moffitt completed their work in one month. MaizeRoute was praised by ISPD 2007 chair Patrick Madden for its efficiency in containing only 1,500 lines of code. The remaining two prizes were awarded to teams from UT Austin and Taiwan.

The contest was organized by IBM Austin Research Laboratory and sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Design Automation (SIGDA), IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation. It attracted teams from the U.S., Taiwan and China, and pitted university teams against industry contestants, including those from Cadence Berkeley Laboratories.

Benchmarks were derived from large integrated circuits at IBM, with up to a million connections that must be routed on the same chip. Performance metrics included the number of routing violations (overflows) and total routing wirelength. Prizes were awarded in two categories --- for best 2D and for best 3D router.

"The purpose of the contest is to guide researchers toward most urgent challenges in the EDA industry, and also to map out state-of-the-art solutions," said Madden, in an EE Times online article about the contest.

Igor Markov, professor in ACAL, said Roy plans to open-source FGR “to boost research in routing and help improve commercial EDA tools.”