Rutenbar receives best paper for work on rare event failure statistics in memory design
Rob Rutenbar and his former student, Dr. Amith Singhee (IBM) are the winners of the 2011 IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award for their paper "Statistical Blockade: Very Fast Statistical Simulation and Modeling of Rare Circuit Events and Its Application to Memory Design," published originally in August 2009.
The paper presented a radically new strategy for so-called "rare event" failure statistics in memory designs. Modern silicon devices with atomic dimensions don't have deterministic behaviors: everything worth modeling is a messy smear of probability. How then to determine if statistical variations compromise reliability? In a multicore design with 100 million bits of cache memory, a one-in-a-million error rate is disastrous. One must guarantee rates of better than 1-in-a-billion. Conventional simulations for such "rare event" failures are intractably slow. Rutenbar and Singhee showed how ideas synthesized from data mining and the mathematics of extreme value theory could be combined to provide speedups of 10 - 10,000X for these critical problems.
Rutenbar, a researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, is the head of the computer science department and the Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering. He has worked on tools for custom circuit synthesis and optimization for more than 20 years, and on custom silicon architectures for speech recognition for the last half dozen years.
In 1998 he co-founded Neolinear Inc. to commercialize the first practical synthesis tools for analog designs. He served as Neolinear's Chief Scientist until its acquisition by Cadence in 2004. He is the founding Director of the US national Focus Research Center for Circuits and System Solutions -- called "C2S2". C2S2 is a CMU-led consortium of 19 US universities and over 50 faculty funded by the US semiconductor industry and US government to address future circuit challenges.
He has won many awards over his career, including the 2001 Semiconductor Research Corporation Aristotle Award for excellence in education, and most recently, the 2007 IEEE Circuits & Systems Industrial Pioneer Award. His work has been featured in venues ranging from "EE Times" to "The Economist" magazine. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.