Fault-tolerant computing pioneer returns to campus

ECE News

Corey Blumenthal and Julia Sullivan, ECE ILLINOIS
10/4/2016 9:34:39 AM

Story Highlights

Professor Algirdas Avizienis (BSEE '54, MSEE '55, PhD '60) returned to campus for a visit this week. He is a pioneer in the field of fault-tolerant computing, winning many awards for his groundbreaking efforts.

"A lot of what we teach as fundamentals today, we owe to Al," said ECE Department Head William H Sanders in his introduction of Prof. Avizienis' lecture, "Software-free resilience infrastructure for cyber-physical systems," held in the CSL auditorium.

Prof. Avizienis shared memories from his time as a University of Illinois student. He vividly remembers working on ILLIAC 1, the first von Neumann architecture computer built and owned by an American university, and using a wooden hammer to find the tubes that needed to be filled.

He began his presentation by soliciting help from the students, faculty, and staff in attendance. He discussed the development of precise definitions for dependability and resilience, also introducing the concept of an ontological fault. He went on to discuss the architecture of the Resilience Infrastructure (RI), a software-free digital system that can be attached to a "client" cyber-physical system to enhance its reslience.



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