Illinois ECE Professor Nam Sung Kim has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI)


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Nam Sung Kim
Nam Sung Kim

Nam Sung Kim has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). According to NAI, Kim received the award because he has "demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society."

Nam Sung Kim is the W.J. ‘Jerry’ Sanders III – Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.  He also is a researcher in the Coordinated Science Lab.

In addition to the new fellowship, Kim is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) "for contribution to circuits and architectures for power-efficient microprocessors." Kim is the 24th researcher in the world to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of all three of the major computer architecture conferences: International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA) Hall of Fame, the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO) Hall of Fame, and the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) Hall of Fame.

Kim holds 35 U.S. patents in the field of digital circuit and computer architecture. Among them, 9 patents were licensed to semiconductor giants and have contributed to saving a notable amount of electricity and carbon emission by making the CPU, which is the most energy-consuming component in computers, more energy-efficient. The potential positive impact of this technology on the global economy and environment is significant.

In addition, one of his latest patents, “Computer Architecture Having Selectable, Parallel and Serial Communication Channels between Processors and Memory (US10108220),'' describes one of the three use cases of an industry standard interconnect (Compute Express Link) involving more than 60 member companies, five years ahead of the inception of the industry standard. Its future impact is yet to be determined but the industry began to introduce processors supporting the use case.

The NAI was founded to recognize and encourage inventors with U.S. patents, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and to create wider public understanding of how its members’ inventions benefit society.

“No matter how exceptional the work we do, there are moments when it might go unnoticed, and we might feel the world isn’t fair,” Kim says. “Yet, when we do exceptional work consistently, someone will always recognize it. In that spirit, I’m deeply honored that the industry impact of my invention, stemming from my past research collaboration with incredible colleagues and students, has been recognized by others."



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This story was published December 14, 2023.