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Ph.D. alumnus Brandon Lucia receives IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect Award

Brandon Lucia (right) accepts the 2019 Young Computer Architect Award from IEEE TCCA chair Josep Torrellas.

Allen School alumnus Brandon Lucia (Ph.D., ‘13) has been recognized by the IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Committee on Computer Architecture with the 2019 Young Computer Architect Award. This award recognizes an outstanding researcher who has completed their doctoral degree within the past six years and who has made innovative contributions to the field of computer architecture. Lucia, who completed his Ph.D. working with Allen School professor Luis Ceze and is now a faculty member in Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, was recognized for “pioneering research in parallel debugging and intermittent computing.”

Lucia devoted his early research career to the development of novel approaches for concurrency debugging and failure avoidance for parallel and concurrent software such as shared-memory multi-threaded programs. Unlike sequential software, parallel and concurrent software relies on concurrent computations and an ordering of program events that varies with each execution. These qualities make pinpointing bugs a particularly challenging process. In response, Lucia and his collaborators developed a string of techniques that blended computer architecture and systems support to make it easier to find and fix concurrency bugs and minimize the risk of schedule-dependent failures that tend to erode system reliability. He was among the first researchers to devise mechanisms for automatically avoiding such failures ― typically the result of latent concurrency bugs discovered only after software is put into production ― without altering program semantics. His contributions include Atom-Aid, which capitalizes on the natural tendency for systems with implicit atomicity to prevent some schedule-dependent failures; ColorSafe, a scheme for applying colors to groups of data that makes it easier to avoid multi-variable atomicity violations in programs; and Aviso, a software system for automatically avoiding schedule-dependent failures by generating schedule constraints that disrupt the order of events based on historical failed executions.

Since his arrival at CMU, Lucia and his students in the Abstract Research Group have focused on the development of intermittent computing, including the design of software and hardware systems for addressing reliability issues and energy storage needs in battery-less devices. This rapidly growing area of research focuses on enabling computation, sensing, and communication with devices that harvest ambient energy to power their operations for a variety of real-world ― and out-of-this-world ― applications in potentially extreme environments. To advance this burgeoning technology, Lucia led a team of researchers in developing a new energy storage architecture, Capybara, that can be dynamically reconfigured in response to varied applications’ energy demand. Their work earned the Best Paper Award at ASPLOS 2018 and an Honorable Mention in IEEE MICRO’s Top Picks last year. Other contributions include Chinchilla, a compiler and run-time system for supporting the efficient, intermittent operation of energy-harvesting devices through adaptive dynamic checkpointing, and the Energy-Interference-Free Debugger (EDB), a tool for monitoring and debugging intermittent systems without adversely impacting their energy state that was selected as an IEEE MICRO Top Pick in 2017.

Lucia collected his latest accolade at the 46th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA 2019) this week in Phoenix, Arizona. He is not the first with an Allen School connection to earn the Young Computer Architect Award since its inception in 2011. Last year, fellow 2013 alumnus Hadi Esmaeilzadeh was recognized for his contributions to novel computer architectures in machine learning and approximate computing, and their mentor Ceze was recognized in 2013 for his work on improving multi-core programmability and correctness.

Congratulations, Brandon!

June 28, 2019

Allen School Ph.D. alum Hadi Esmaeilzadeh wins IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect award

2013 Allen School Ph.D. alum Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, an Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at UCSD (where he recently moved from Georgia Tech), today received the Young Computer Architect award from the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Architecture at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture.

The award, which is open to any individual who has completed his/her Ph.D. degree within the last 6 years, recognizes outstanding early-career research contributions in the field of Computer Architecture.

Hadi began his graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, advised Doug Burger. When Doug moved to Microsoft Research, Hadi transferred to the University of Washington, where he was co-advised by Doug and Luis Ceze. In the year of his graduation, he received the William Chan Memorial Dissertation Award for the top dissertation in the Allen School.

Hadi’s research has been recognized by four Communications of the ACM Research Highlights, four IEEE Micro Top Picks, and a Distinguished Paper Award in HPCA 2016. He has received the Air Force Young Investigator Award (2017), the Georgia Tech College of Computing Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (2017), two Qualcomm Research Awards (2017 and 2016), two Google Research Faculty Award (2016 and 2014), two Microsoft Research Awards (2017 and 2016), and the Lockheed Inspirational Young Faculty Award (2016).

It was a great day for the Allen School at ISCA: in addition to Hadi’s recognition, Susan Eggers received the IEEE/ACM Eckert-Mauchly Award, the computer architecture community’s most prestigious honor.

June 5, 2018

CSE’s Luis Ceze wins IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect Award

LuisUW CSE professor Luis Ceze has received the IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect Award!

This annual award recognizes outstanding, innovative, high impact research contributions in the field of computer architecture by computer architects who earned their doctorates six years or less ago.

Luis received the award today at the 40th International Symposium on Computer Architecture in Tel Aviv.

Congratulations Luis!  Learn more about his research here.

Update:  It may appear that Luis is relaxing after receiving his award, but [choose one]:

  • (a) he’s always thinking
  • (b) his students are always working







June 26, 2013

Ph.D. alumnus Adrian Sampson receives Young Computer Architect Award for his impact in approximate computing and programming languages in hardware

Adrian Sampson in front of a water fall

Allen School alumnus Adrian Sampson (Ph.D., ‘15) has been recognized by the IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Committee on Computer Architecture with the 2021 Young Computer Architect Award for “contributions to approximate computing and hardware synthesis from high-level representations.” This award honors an outstanding researcher who has completed their doctoral degree within the past six years and who has made innovative contributions to the field of computer architecture. Sampson, who completed his Ph.D. working with Allen School professor Luis Ceze and Allen School professor and vice director Dan Grossman, is now a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.

“Adrian’s work on programming language-hardware co-design for approximate computing led to a new research area with lots of follow-on research by the community,” said Ceze. “His research impact is complemented by him being an amazingly creative, caring and fun human being. I could not be more proud of him.”

Sampson devoted his early career to new abstractions in approximate computing, with a focus on rethinking modern computer architecture — specifically reducing the energy consumption of computer systems. For instance, Sampson, along with Ceze and Grossman, created EnerJ, a language for principled approximate computing that allows programmers to indicate where it is safe to permit occasional errors in order to save energy. While power consumption of computers is often strained by correctness, guarantees like EnerJ, an extension to Java, exposes hardware faults in a safe, principled manner allowing power-saving techniques like lower voltage. Sampson’s research shows that approximate computing is a promising way of saving energy in large classes of applications running on a wide range of systems, including embedded systems, mobile phones and servers. 

“Modern architecture gives everyone a license to try ideas that are weird and ambitious and potentially transformative,” Sampson said about his work. “It would be silly not to take up that opportunity.”

At Cornell, Sampson and his research group, Capra, are focused on programming languages and compilers for generating hardware accelerators. One area in particular is field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which allow the co-design of applications with hardware accelerators. These are still hard to program, so Sampson and his team created Dahlia, a programming language that leverages an affine type system to constrain programs to only represent valid hardware designs. Dahlia aims to compile high-level programming languages into performant hardware designs and offer open source tools to help programming language and architecture.

“What Adrian has leveraged in clever and impactful ways throughout his career is that many potential amazing performance advantages at the hardware level are possible only if given extra information or assurance from the software as to where the techniques are safe to use,” Grossman said.

In addition to his Computer Architecture Award, Sampson previously was recognized with an NSF CAREER Award in 2019 and a Google Faculty Research Award in 2016, just to name a few, and has published more than 40 papers

Sampson is not the only person with an Allen School connection to earn the Young Computer Architect Award since its inception in 2011: Ceze himself received the award in 2013, and he was also the advisor to Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, who received the award in 2018, and Brandon Lucia, who received the award in 2019.

Congratulations, Adrian!

July 15, 2021

Susan Eggers receives Eckert-Mauchly Award for outstanding contributions to computer architecture

Susan EggersAllen School professor emerita Susan Eggers has been honored with the 2018 Eckert-Mauchly Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of computer architecture. The award, which is sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society, is the computer architecture community’s most prestigious honor. Eggers was cited in particular for her work on simultaneous multithreaded processor architectures and multiprocessor memory sharing and coherency.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in economics, Eggers worked in a variety of roles for more than a decade before turning her attention to computer engineering. She began her faculty career at the University of Washington in 1989 after completing her Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley at the age of 47. Although she may have arrived at computing as a career path later than some, Eggers would more than make up for lost time by producing some of the most significant and enduring contributions to the field of computer architecture over the past 30 years.

Most significant among these was Eggers’ role in the development and commercialization of simultaneous multithreading (SMT). While chip manufacturers were achieving rapid gains in memory and logic in the mid-1990s, those physical manifestations of Moore’s Law failed to generate the expected improvements in performance. To Eggers, the most promising approach to translate exponential growth in chip density into enhanced performance was to increase parallelism, or the ability of computers to run calculations concurrently.

Eggers was one of the leading proponents of SMT as a way to boost parallelism, and with it, performance. SMT combines hardware multithreading with superscalar processor technology to enable multiple independent threads to issue instructions to multiple functional units in a single cycle. Eggers and her collaborators demonstrated several substantial advantages that SMT offered over other architectures, including higher throughput, increased speed, and greater flexibility in hardware design. SMT faced considerable skepticism, but over the next eight years, Eggers and her collaborators in academia and industry would refine and validate SMT, which became an essential component in the processors produced by industry leaders such as Intel and IBM. Eggers co-authored roughly a dozen papers about SMT, two of which earned Test of Time Awards in 2010 and 2011, respectively, from the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA).

Eckert-Mauchly Award Committee chair Kunle Olukotun presents the award to Susan Eggers

Eggers also made significant, early-career contributions in cache coherency, a technique for maintaining consistent data across shared memory multiprocessors. These included the first data-driven study of multiprocessor data sharing — which was instrumental in advancing the field’s understanding of hardware and software coherency techniques — as well as novel cache coherency protocols.

Eggers’ interests in performance improvements extend beyond chip design. For example, she was a member of the team that built DyC, an easy-to-use system for dynamic compilation in C that was more expressive, flexible, and controllable than previous annotation-based approaches.

Eggers is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is being formally honored today by her peers in the computer architecture community at ISCA 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Eggers is the first Allen School faculty member — and the first woman — to receive the Eckert-Mauchly Award in its 39-year history.

Read the ACM press release here, and learn more about the Eckert-Mauchly Award here. Read a terrific interview with Eggers in IEEE Micro here.

Video of Eggers’ acceptance speech here.

Congratulations, Susan! And congratulations also to 2013 Allen School Ph.D. alum Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, who received the IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect award on the ISCA stage on the same morning!


June 5, 2018