David Papa Receives EDAA Outstanding Dissertation Award

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Dr. David Papa (CSE Ph.D. 2010) has been selected to receive the 2010 Outstanding Dissertation Award in the area of "New directions in physical design, design for manufacturing and CAD for analogue circuits and MEMS" from the European Design and Automation Association (EDAA) for his dissertation, "Broadening the Scope of Multi-Objective Optimizations in Physical Synthesis of Integrated Circuits," which he defended at the University of Michigan. The award will be presented in March at the DATE 2011 conference in Grenoble, France. This award is among the most prestigious awards for Ph.D. dissertations in the field of Electronic Design Automation (EDA).

Dr. Papa’s dissertation offers solutions to chip optimization problems collectively known as physical synthesis. One of the challenges it addresses is a disconnect between global optimizations that deal with entire circuits and greedy local optimizations that apply to single gates and wires. Global optimizations suffer from inaccurate models of circuit delay and sometimes make things worse. Local optimizations are safe, but lack the scope to contribute significant improvement.

The research reported in the dissertation enhances physical synthesis by improving the efficiency and accuracy of circuit delay models used for global optimizations, extending the scope of local optimizations, and creating hybrid optimizations that deal with several degrees of freedom at the same time. The dissertation develops a suite of interrelated multi-objective optimizations that considerably improve commercial software for chip optimization. These techniques are now adopted at IBM within standard chip design methodologies.

Upon concluding his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, Dr. Papa has continued his physical synthesis research in the Design Productivity Group at IBM Research in Austin, TX.

Dr. Papa's dissertation advisor was Professor Igor Markov.

Award Announcement by EDAA (pdf)

Posted: February 22, 2011