Grad students Sloan and Abdallah win best in session at TECHCON

ECE News

Elise King, Coordinated Science Lab

Story Highlights

  • Graduate students Joseph Sloan and Rami Abdallah won Best in Session Awards at the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) 2011 Technology Conference (TECHCON).
  • Abdallah's paper focused on identifying and correcting circuit error.
  • Sloan's research focused on multicore design, demonstrating how to make a system robust to errors.

Rami A. Abdallah
Rami A. Abdallah

In September, two ECE graduate students, Rami A Abdallah and Joseph Augustyn Sloan, won Best in Session Awards at the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) 2011 Technology Conference, also known as TECHCON. Both students conduct their research in the Coordinated Science Lab.

TECHCON was a two-day event held in Austin, Texas, where SRC members and students presented papers on various areas of research on semiconductor technology. The thrusts were broken down into sixteen sessions and judges selected two winners for each session.

Abdallah presented a paper on the topic of integrated system design. His paper, titled, “Soft Computing Systems via Hardware Error Likelihood Processing,” focused on identifying circuit error statistics and then trying to use various techniques to correct those errors, he said.

Abdallah works with ECE Professor Naresh R Shanbhag, and is also involved in the VSLI Information Processing Systems Research Group, which focuses on the design of integrated circuits and systems for signal processing and communications.

Joseph Augustyn Sloan
Joseph Augustyn Sloan

Sloan presented a paper on the topic of multicore design titled, “Algorithmic Techniques for Fault Detection for Sparse Linear Algebra.” Sloan's paper focuses on the fact that hardware reliability is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve with process scaling as technologies continue to downsize. Sloan tackles this problem in his paper by looking at how to eliminate system design margins and make the software itself robust to errors. Sloan specifically looked at various techniques for detecting faults in sparse linear algebra applications, in order to make them more reliable.

Sloan is a researcher for the Center for Reliable and High Performance Computing at CSL, where he studies software and algorithmic ways of tolerating and harnessing faults with his adviser, ECE Assistant Professor Rakesh Kumar.

Abdallah and Sloan are among the numerous CSL researchers who play an integral role in the SRC’s Focus Center Research Program. This multi-university program leads in U.S. semi-conductor research and creates breakthroughs critical to U.S. security and economic competitiveness.

Two other students from the University also won Best in Session Awards. Feng Xiong, an ECE graduate student, won an award for presenting a paper on memory devices, and Martha Grady, a graduate student studying Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, won an award for her paper about packaging materials.

According to SRC’s website, students presented a total of 145 papers at TECHCON. A mix of students, industry members, government members, faculty and staff attended the event -- a total of 455 people.

“It was definitely bigger than I thought it was going to be,” Sloan said. SRC’s website said the event had “a good mix for outstanding networking” and Abdallah described the event as good forum to exchange ideas.

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