Prof. Chris Kim Named IEEE Fellow

ECE faculty, Prof. Chris Kim has been named an IEEE Fellow effective January 2019. He has been cited by the IEEE for his contributions to on-chip circuit reliability evaluation and characterization.

Prof. Kim’s research focuses on developing circuit technologies that can enable smart and energy-efficient integrated systems. He leads the VLSI Research Laboratory, and under his direction, his team are engaged in high-impact work with applications that include internet of things, neuromorphic computing, microprocessors, medical devices, and post-CMOS technologies.

Odometer Circuits

An outstanding contribution to the advancement of technology is Kim’s work in the area of circuit reliability. His invention of odometer circuits, a new class of compact on-chip sensors can reveal details of circuit aging that are otherwise impossible to detect and measure using conventional characterization methods. His research team has since developed and demonstrated over twenty odometer designs, each of them uniquely targeting different aging mechanisms in technologies ranging from 130nm to 14nm.

The original silicon odometer design is based on a simple circuit that measures the beat frequency between a new ring oscillator, and an old one. The design was presented at the 2007 VLSI Circuits Symposium and was subsequently invited to the IEEE JSSC, and to many other fora after.

Among the other odometers that Kim’s research team has designed are: the all-in-one silicon odometer (separately monitors the impact of Bias Temperature Instability, and Hot Carrier Injection, both of which are critical reliability issues), statistical odometer (designed to study the statistical nature of circuit aging); dielectric breakdown odometer; random telegraph noise odometer; and the plasma induced damage odometer. The work was presented at several high profile publications, symposia, and other venues, and the team are recipients of multiple design awards. In addition to these, Kim has presented several odometer structures for diagnosing SRAM aging at various eminent publications.

In 2016, Kim received the Semiconductor Research Corporation Technical Excellence Award in recognition of his silicon odometer invention. As a further testament of the critical nature of his work, the odometer design has been adopted by companies such as IBM, GlobalFoundries, and Texas Instruments.

While Kim and his team have carried out invaluable research that has direct application and impact in and of itself, from a longview perspective, the research and experience behind the design of novel odometers has established a robust and enduring foundation for work involving the modeling and mitigation of circuit aging.

Beyond-CMOS Electronic Circuits

Besides Kim’s path-breaking contributions to circuit reliability technologies, he has also made singular contributions to beyond-CMOS electronic circuits such as spintronics and flexible electronics. He works closely with physicists, material scientists, and chemical engineers in his quest for circuit-based solutions. Besides developing solutions that have direct impact on current and future technology, Kim’s interdisciplinary work is also setting the foundation for future research by drawing attention to some of the challenges that lie ahead, ranging from materials to design to architectures that are yet to be developed to make spin-based computing a reality.   

Kim is an active contributor to multiple journals in his discipline through much-cited technical reports, publications, and presentations. He and his team of researchers have also been recipients of several best paper and IC design contest awards. In addition to these contributions, he has generously shared his time by volunteering as chair of several committees, sub-committees, and program committees, as associate editor, panelist and tutorial organizer.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is proud of We are proud of Prof. Chris Kim’s accomplishments, and those of the team he leads, and congratulate him on his elevation to IEEE Fellow.

Learn more about Prof. Chris Kim’s research and lab here.

From the IEEE website: “[…] the IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year does not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the total voting Institute membership.”