Kai-hui Chang receives EDAA Outstanding Dissertation Award   Bookmark and Share

Dr. Kai-hui Chang (PhD 2007) received the 2007 Outstanding Dissertation Award in the area of "New directions in logic and system design" by the European Design and Automation Association (EDAA). This award is one of the most prestigious awards for Ph. D. dissertations in the field of Electronic Design Automation (EDA). Dr. Chang is currently a Senior Technical Staff at Avery Design Systems. Avery Design Systems is an EDA tool company focusing on functional verification of digital circuits. He is working on their next-generation verification tool that combines simulation and formal analysis techniques.

His dissertation, which will be published by Springer, is titled, "Functional Design Error Diagnosis, Correction and Layout Repair of Digital Circuits."

His research addresses the challenges in the production of today’s highly complex chips. Due to the dramatic increase in design complexity, modern circuits are often produced with functional errors, which may cause critical system failures and huge financial loss. While improvements in verification allow engineers to find more errors, fixing these errors remains a manual and challenging task.

In his dissertation, Chang solves this problem by proposing innovative methods to automate the debugging process throughout the design flow. “Our first innovation,” explains Chang, “is a bug trace minimizer that can remove most redundant information from a trace, thus facilitating debugging. To automate the error repair process for register-transfer level and gate-level designs, we develop a novel framework that uses simulation to abstract the functionality of the circuit, and then rely on bug traces to guide the refinement of the abstraction. However, we note that this solution is not directly applicable to post-silicon debugging because of the highly-restrictive physical constraints at this design stage. To address this challenge, we propose a set of comprehensive physically-aware algorithms to generate a range of viable netlist and layout transformations in order to find the most promising fix of the design problem. We integrate all these scalable error-repair techniques into a framework called FogClear. Our empirical evaluation shows that FogClear can repair errors in a broad range of designs, demonstrating its ability to greatly reduce debugging effort, enhance design quality, and ultimately enable the design and manufacture of more reliable electronic devices.”

Dr. Chang’s dissertation advisors were Prof. Igor Markov and Prof. Valeria Bertacco.

Award Announcement by EDAA

EDAA Press Release