Digital Circuits and VLSI

MICL research on digital integrated circuits and VLSI spans a wide area from high-performance processors to ultra-low-power sensing systems, from communication devices to medical implants, and from sub-threshold CMOS circuits to emerging technologies. Prof. David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester's groups are working on unprecedented cubic-millimeter, solar-powered microsystems that harvest energy from their surroundings to operate perpetually for applications in medical implants and environmental sensors. Research on near-threshold computing (NTC) was pioneered at Michigan and will enable high-performance, energy-efficient server computing using 3-dimensional integration of processor cores and memory layers. Prof. Marios Papaefthymiou's group is pursuing energy-recovery systems and energy-harvesting circuitry that have demonstrated record energy efficiency at GHz clock frequencies and the first-ever sub-threshold circuits operating above 100MHz. Prof. Zhengya Zhang's group is conducting research in computing algorithm and circuits co-design to improve the energy efficiency of communication and signal processing systems by exploiting algorithm characteristics.

This area of research also addresses the growing reliability challenges facing the deeplyscaled CMOS technology. Prof. Sylvester and Blaauw's groups are investigating transistor wearout behavior through in situ monitoring and wearout sensors that can allow chips to last longer despite worsened intrinsic reliability. Prof. Zhang, Blaauw, and Sylvester's groups are pursuing research in reliable computing architectures based on unreliable devices. Prof. Robert Dick's group is involved in the power, thermal, and reliability modeling and optimization of integrated circuits.