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ECE Colloquium Series – Prof. John P. Hayes – CANCELLED

March 26 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

As part of the *Eleanore Hale Wilson Lecture Series, ECE is proud to present:

Computing with Randomness: the Stochastic Circuit Approach?

Prof. John P. Hayes

University of  Michigan, Ann Arbor

Host: Prof. Keshab Parhi


Almost all modern computers are deterministic; so randomness plays no significant role in their operation. Yet randomness has advantages, as suggested by its widespread occurrence in nature, ranging from quantum mechanics to the human brain. Stochastic computing (SC) is a re-emerging computing technique that processes data defined by pseudo-random bit-streams. It mimics aspects of the nervous system, and enables complex arithmetic operations to be performed using extremely small, low-power, and error-tolerant circuitry. SC has applications in several important areas such as image processing, complex coding techniques, and the design of artificial neural networks.  However, achieving acceptably accurate results is difficult and SC tends to require very long bit-streams and run-times. This talk reviews the underlying concepts of SC and its applications, and discusses recent research results that focus on the accuracy issue. Among the major sources of inaccuracy are random fluctuations in individual bit-streams, correlations between bit-streams, and inadequate randomness sources. For example, input bit-streams denoting constant stochastic numbers play an essential role in SC, but are a significant source of random fluctuation errors. We show that it is possible to remove error-inducing constant inputs from stochastic circuits by resorting to a class of highly accurate sequential designs. We also discuss the potential benefits of SC’s randomness in the design of artificial neural networks.


John P. Hayes is a professor of EECS at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he holds the Claude E. Shannon Chair of Engineering Science. He has a B.E. degree in electrical engineering from the National University of Ireland, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. Prior to joining Michigan, he was a faculty member at the University of Southern California. His teaching and research interests include computer-aided design and testing, computer architecture, and unconventional computing techniques. Professor Hayes has authored over 325 technical papers, several patents, and seven books, including Computer Architecture and Organization (3rd ed., 1998), Quantum Circuit Simulation (2009), and Design, Analysis and Test of Logic Circuits under Uncertainty (2012). In 2004, he received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Research Award. He received the IEEE Lifetime Contribution Medal for outstanding contributions to test technology in 2013, and the ACM Pioneering Achievement Award for contributions to logic design, fault tolerant computing, and testing in 2014. Professor Hayes is a Fellow of both IEEE and ACM.

*Established in 2009, the Eleanore Hale Wilson Fund supports engineering field leaders for travel to Minnesota to share their expertise and discoveries with University of Minnesota graduate students, faculty, and alumni. The fund also supports the receptions held in honor of each speaker.





March 26
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Keller Hall 3-210
200 Union St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 United States
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