2008 AMD/Michigan Student Design Contest   Bookmark and Share

The third annual Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) / Michigan Student Design Contest was held this past term among the students of EECS 427: VLSI Design I and EECS 627: VLSI Design II.

Left: AMD Judges Mahadev Deshpande and Matt Crum, EECS 627 Students Evan Li, Orijit Dhar, Darryl Prudich, Chris Hsiong Left: EECS 427 Students: Brent Climans, Dan Zhang, Andrea Pellegrini, Gautam Bhatnagar, BoQiang Xiao


The winning design for the graduate level course EECS 627, taught by Prof. Dennis Sylvester, was Energy Efficient MPEG-1 Video Decoder with Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling, by Orijit Dhar, Chris Hsiong, Evan Li, and Darryl Prudich. The four students will share the $3,500 prize.

A team of five students, Gautam Bhatnager, Brent Climans, Andrea Pellegrini, Bo Xiao, and Dan Zhang, shared the $2,500 prize for their winning project in EECS 427, FreeFood: A 1GHz High-Performance 16-bit DSP with SIMD Multimedia Extensions. The course was taught by EDA/ECAD Software Administrator Joel VanLaven.

The team for the EECS627 project tackled a common problem inherent in most handheld devices, which is that most devices are not energy efficient and waste battery life. Dhar said his team's project was to design an MPEG video decoder that intelligently makes decisions about how fast it needs to work depending on the difficulty of the incoming bitstream, rather than handling the worst case workload at all times. "By making this decision in real time," stated Dhar, "we were able to make our design very efficient."

The EECS 427 project, FreeFood, attempted to provide uncompromising performance for video decoding and other complex multimedia operations while maintaining reasonable power efficiency in a novel 16-bit DSP.
With creative and carefully balanced pipelining, FreeFood achieved a 427 record 1.05GHz clock rate and can sustain a maximum thoughput of 4200 MIPS consuming only 348mW. Features included a dedicated multiply-accumulate, 64-bit SIMD operations, and stream buffers.

Prudich, who is working toward his Master's degree in VLSI, stated, "the great thing about EECS 627 is that groups are free to select almost any project imaginable, which leads to a very wide breadth of projects and makes the overall class very interesting."

The winning designs were determined by two judges from AMD: Matt Crumm and Mahadev Deshpande, also an EECS alumnus. The judges were impressed with the breadth of the various projects presented, as well as the effort that went into them and the talent displayed. "The breadth of what was done across the various project groups was impressive," stated Crumm, "and the competition between groups was strong."