Research consortium focused on strengthening semiconductor industry
Engineers from The Ohio State University are part of a multi-university team that will develop new scalable computing technologies to improve performance and energy efficiency of microelectronics and semiconductors.
Funded by a $31.5 million grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Joint University Microelectronics Program 2.0 (JUMP 2.0), the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) will lead the ACE Center for Evolvable Computing. It will advance distributed computing technology – from cloud-based datacenters to edge nodes – and contribute to the national effort to strengthen the semiconductor industry and train a highly skilled workforce in this field. With additional funds from partnering institutions, ACE will have a total budget of $39.6 million over five years.
The JUMP 2.0 program is a public-private partnership led by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) in cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It is a new program that supports university research collaboration with semiconductor and defense companies, focusing on challenges facing microelectronics advancement.
JUMP 2.0 is funding seven new multi-university research centers, each focused on an issue of critical importance. The ACE Center won the award for the “Systems and Architectures for Distributed Compute” theme. The center director is UIUC Saburo Muroga Professor of Computer Science Josep Torrellas and the assistant director is Harvard University Gordon McKay Professor Minlan Yu. Ohio State Computer Science and Engineering Professor Radu Teodorescu is a co-principal investigator who will lead the “Security, Privacy and Correctness” theme.
Other collaborating institutions include Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, Stanford University, University of California San Diego, University of Kansas, University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin and University of Washington.
“The ACE Center will develop new computing paradigms that are critically needed for national technological priorities in microelectronics,” said Rashid Bashir, dean of the Grainger College of Engineering at UIUC. “I am excited that multiple stakeholders came together to make this center possible.”
Distributed computing is defined by the need to process vast swaths of data for insights in a timely manner. “In years ahead,” said Torrellas, “minimizing data movement to curtail energy consumption will be the overriding constraint.”
To meet ACE’s goal of high-performance, energy-efficient and secure distributed computing, the research team envisions the future compute infrastructure as a seamless hierarchy of compute centers that span from the edge to geo-distributed mega-datacenters. ACE researchers will innovate across the computing tack in processing, storage, communication and security technologies to address the seismic changes happening in the semiconductor industry today.
“This center addresses the challenges that we expect the computing landscape to face 10 years from now,” Ohio State’s Teodorescu said. “We envision a world that is awash in data that requires intelligent processing and rapid decision-making for a wide range of applications. The challenge is that this data is produced everywhere and the energy cost of moving it for processing to centralized servers will be prohibitive, so new solutions must be developed.”
Teodorescu added that the “Security, Privacy and Correctness” theme that he leads cuts across each of the other ACE Center research themes.
“All the solutions that we develop as part of this center have to be designed with a security-first mindset,” he explained. “In addition to the security features and verification tools and methodologies that our theme will develop, we will work with all the center PIs to ensure that the solutions they come up with incorporate our evolvable security principles and work well with our verification frameworks.”
The ACE Center will involve more than 100 graduate and undergraduate students, who will work closely with faculty and leading researchers in industry.
The center also aims to create an ecosystem for engagement and collaborative research projects with SRC member companies and others involved in microelectronics and distributed systems. Those interested in engaging with the ACE Center are encouraged to reach out to Director Josep Torrellas at email@example.com.