Prof. Chris Kim has been honored with the 2018 George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research. Prof. Michael McAlpine from the Department of Mechanical Engineering is the other honoree for this year. The research award is typically awarded to a faculty member who has shown outstanding ability in research and is within 15 years of having earned their doctorate at the time of their nomination. The award comes with a citation and an honorarium.
The award recognizes Prof. Kim’s expertise in integrated circuit design, in particular advanced CMOS technologies and post-CMOS devices. He is a leading authority on circuit-based characterization and mitigation techniques to combat circuit-aging effects, hardware-based solutions for preventing hacking attacks (a key contribution being the digital fingerprint design called Soft Physical Unclonable Function or PUF for authentication purposes), and a new neural network hardware paradigm called “time domain computing,” a low energy, compact alternative to conventional digital computers. He is also engaged in collaborative research that is investigating new materials, fabrication techniques, and circuit design for flexible electronic devices, working alongside faculty from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science at the University, and from Northwestern University. In a similar exploratory research venture, he has been working with several faculty from ECE and other departments at the University to address the design challenges posed by spintronics devices.
Prof. Kim leads an active research group that is conducting research in improving energy efficiency, performance, and security in connected devices, as well as exploring future computing systems based on emerging technologies such as spintronics, and post-CMOS transistors. Through research funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Prof. Kim’s group has successfully transferred technology to the US industry. The silicon odometer technology is a key case in point. The silicon odometer, a circuit that can measure the wear and tear of a silicon chip, has become a critical technology adopted by IBM. For this groundbreaking invention, he received the 2016 SRC Technical Excellence Award. The technology has also been transferred to Texas Instruments, and Global Foundries. The award recognizes researchers who make “key contributions to technologies that significantly enhance the productivity of the US semiconductor industry.”
Prof. Kim’s publications have appeared in highly competitive peer-reviewed journals and conferences. The International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), VLSI Technology and Circuits Symposium, Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC), International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED), and IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (JSSC) are some of them. His collaborated publications have appeared in journals such as Nature Nanotechnology, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, and others.
Prof. Kim has also been successful in raising funds to the tune to $5.9 million in sponsored projects, besides several million in non-sponsored gifts, and equipment. He has also been active in several center related fundraising efforts such as the SRC/DARPA Center for Spintronics, and ONR MURI. He has successfully raised funds from multiple entities: federal, industry, state, and non-profit.
Prof. Kim earned his doctorate in 2004 at Purdue University, and joined the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor in the same year. In 2015, he became a full professor. Besides the SRC Technical Award, he has also received several other prestigious awards at the national and international level: IBM faculty partnership awards, the NSF CAREER award, several design contests, and the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship are some of them.
Endowed within the College of Science and Engineering, the Taylor Awards were established in memory of George W. Taylor, a 1934 graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Each year, an award is made to a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the categories of teaching, research, and service.