U of Toronto VLSI Research Group

VLSI Research Group Members and Research Interests

The VLSI Research Group consists of fifteen faculty members and their graduate students (about 115) and research associates (about 10) who are involved in VLSI related research.

Researchers in the Group continue to maintain and promote the standard and status of microelectronics research in Canada, and as a result they are recognized nationally and internationally. Specific evidence of this recognition during 2000 includes:

In addition, one past member, John Long, was honoured by our university in 2000 with a Faculty Teaching Award and the department's G.R. Slemon Design Award, and one member, Ali Sheikholeslami, received the department's Electrical Club Award for Exceptional Teaching. The department's G.R. Slemon Design Award, honouring outstanding work in an undergraduate thesis, was presented to Andrew Brzezinski and Sameer Kaushal, who were supervised by A. Salama.

Members of the Group are from various disciplines in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, particularly the Electronics Group and the Computer Group .

S.D. Brown

Research interests: multiprocessor systems; field-programmable gate arrays; synthesis of logic circuits.
Projects under investigation: NUMAchine multiprocessor; design techniques for FPGA-based systems.
Some recent contributions: 1) developed an architecture for NUMAchine multiprocessor. 2) developed chip architecture and CAD tools for new type of FPGA; 3) developed new architecture and CAD tools for next-generation laser-programmed gate arrays.
Interaction with industry: Hewlett-Packard; Chip Express.

P. Chow

Research interests: VLIW DSP architectures and compilers: development of a novel VLSI embedded processor; reconfigurable processors; field programmable gate array (FPGA) systems.
Projects under investigation: DSP processor architecture design; reconfigurable computer architecture exploration; architectures for field-programmable systems; applications (ATM-related) for the Transmogrifier 2 (a field-programmable system).
Some recent contributions: 1) field-programmable mixed analog/digital array implementation.
Interaction with industry: Co-founded QoS Express, Inc., and co-founded AcceLight Networks, Inc. Altera, Archelon, ATI, Chameleon Systems, Synopsys. ATI: DSP architectures, research leave.

R. Genov

Research interests: Analog and digital VLSI circuits, systems and algorithms for sensory information acquisition, parallel signal processing and adaptive computation with application to pattern recognition, focal-plane imaging, autonomous system design, and low-power biomedical instrumentation.
Projects under investigation: 1) Energy-efficient integrated circuits and systems for parallel signal processing and real-time pattern recognition in automated wearable/implantable medical diagnostics. 2) Active pixel CMOS image sensors with real-time focal-plane image processing capability.
Some recent contributions: 1) The Kerneltron: a massively parallel mixed-signal processor delivering over 1 trillion (10^12) multiply-accumulates-per-second for every Watt of power. 2) Low-power parallel analog-to-digital converters. 3) Multi-channel VLSI potentiostat and fluidic sensor array for neural activity monitoring and vascular disease studies.

P.G. Gulak

Research interests: VLSI design and applications; VLSI in signal processing and digital communications; parallel algorithms; computer architecture.
Projects under investigation: architectures for ML/MAP sequence estimation; logic-enhanced memories for telecommunications and signal processing; ferroelectric memories; field programmable analog arrays.
Some recent contributions: 1) a field-programmable analog array, fabricated in 1.2-micron CMOS, containing four op-amps, passive components and a transconductor based interconnection network has been used to prototype numerous circuits including a filter biquad, a VCO, a precision rectifier, a signal multiplier and a quadrature oscillator; 2) design and fabrication of CAM-based memory circuits for ATM switch applications.
Interaction with industry: Nortel: access to technical data and IC design facilities; collaboration is ongoing with the Memory Development Group.

D.A. Johns

Research interests: Analog integrated circuit design; high-speed digital communications; oversampling.
Projects under investigation: active hybrid echo cancellation; timing recovery for high-speed wired communications; line interface circuits for high-speed wired communications; CMOS circuits for infrared digital communications; software based radio receiver; analog Viterbi detection for general coding schemes.
Some recent contributions: 1) a method for time-interleaving oversampled data converters; 2) a high-speed analog adaptive pulse shaping filter; 3) high-speed analog Viterbi detection
Interaction with industry: Nortel, Gennum, Mitel, IBM (North Carolina), Analog Devices, Brooktree Corp: delta-sigma based filtering, analog Viterbi detection, time-interleaved oversampling.

K.W. Martin

Research interests: analog integrated circuits in CMOS, BiCMOS, and GaAs technologies; fixed and adaptive digital filters for audio applications.
Projects under investigation: analog components of wireless communication systems; the design of an analog Viterbi decoder; quadrature high-frequency bipolar oscillator; frequency-domain adaptive digital equalizers for audio applications.
Some recent contributions: 1) analog high-speed Q-enhanced biquads utilizing integrated inductors at 1 GHz fabricated at Nortel; 2) complex band-pass oversampling A/D converters for wireless communication systems; 3) a 6 GHz HBT phase-locked loop; 4) a continuous-time BiCMOS low-distortion, high-speed prefilter intended for HDTV; 5) resonator-in-a-loop digital filters (both adaptive and fixed).
Interaction with industry: Analog Devices, Brooktree Corp., Nortel.

F.N. Najm

Research interests: Computer-Aided Design for low-power and reliable integrated circuits: low-power design methodology; built-in reliability methodology; high-level early design planning; design verification during physical design.
Projects under investigation: power and activity estimation; high level power modeling; power macromodelling; low-power synthesis; leakage power reduction; reliability prediction; worst-case activity prediction; simulation and optimization for DC-DC power converters; high-level estimation of power, delay, and area; timing verification in Deep Submicron VLSI.
Some recent contributions: 1) signal switching activity propagation theory; 2) statistical power estimation theory; 3) using signal entropy as a signal switching activity metric; 4) new design technique to minimize standby leakage current in ultra low-power devices; 5) modeling the dependence of power dissipation of a logic circuit based on its input and output signal statistics.
Interaction with industry: 2 CAD companies are using results of work on techniques for estimation and modeling of power dissipation of integrated circuits, as the basis for new products; Texas Instruments: short course, "Dynamics of Physical Systems Under Noise";

W.T. Ng

Research interests: CMOS/BiCMOS circuits, processing technologies and device design for telecommunications applications; power and RF semiconductor devices for high frequency and power electronics applications.
Projects under investigation: advanced BiCMOS device design (RF power transistors and non-volatile memories) for telecommunications, to enhance current CMOS/BiCMOS processes; investigation of merged MOS/bipolar power semiconductor devices that are compatible with modern VLSI processing technology, for smart power IC applications requiring low on-resistance, fast switching speed, high breakdown voltage, and immunity to latch-up.
Some recent contributions: 1) development of high voltage and high power semiconductor devices with significant impact on automotive and telecommunication applications.
Interaction with industry: Nortel: high voltage and RF BJT device designs; Agile System Inc. (Waterloo, Ont.): smart power IC discussions; Philips Research Labs: high voltage device design.

K. Phang

Research interests: Analog IC design, optical communications
Projects under investigation: advanced optical communications; symbolic analysis of analog circuits; smart pixel arrays for optical backplanes; low voltage analog building blocks.
Some recent contributions: 1) a CMOS optical preamplifier for wireless infrared communications; 2) low-voltage infrared transceiver design; 3) transimpedance amplifier with differential photodiode current sensing
Interaction with industry: Infineon, Agilent (Singapore)

J.S. Rose

Research interests: architecture of field-programmable gate arrays; computer-aided design tools for field-programmable gate arrays; computer-aided design for VLSI; characterization and random generation of digital circuits; field-programmable systems.
Projects under investigation: CAD software for FPGAs: placement and routing; construction and use of field-programmable systems for fast-prototyping; characterization of circuits and generation of random circuits; architecture of FPGA routing structures.
Some recent contributions: 1) a new field-programmable system implementation; 2) manual design of editor for high speed circuits in FPGAs; 3) advanced software tools for FPGAs; 4) high speed routing architecture for FPGAs; 5) architecture exploration tools for FPGAs.
Interaction with industry: Founded Right Track CAD Corporation; directory of Altera Toronto Technology Centre.

C.A.T. Salama

Research interests: CMOS and BiCMOS VLSI design for signal processing applications; MOS and bipolar device, process and technology development; GaAs integrated circuit design.
Projects under investigation: design of analog CMOS and BiCMOS building blocks for telecommunications applications; design and fabrication of high voltage CMOS compatible integrated circuits; development of advanced bipolar processes using heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBT); design of high speed gallium arsenide signal processing circuits.
Some recent contributions: 1) development of novel high voltage transistor structures which are having a significant impact on the design of high voltage integrated circuits; 2) development of a new bipolar polysilicon emitter process; 3) development of massively parallel analog arrays for imaging applications; 4) development of a new form of CMOS pass transistor logic (differential pass transistor logic); 5) development of CMOS current mode A/D and D/A converters; 6) development of dynamic GaAs logic; 7) development of GaAs analog building blocks.
Interaction with industry: Nortel, Gennum, Mitel, Allied Signal, SPAR, PMC-Sierra, Wafer Scale Integration.

A. Sheikholeslami

Research interests: ferroelectric memories; content addressable memories.
Projects under investigation: behavioural modeling of ferroelectric capacitors for nonvolatile memories
Some recent contributions: 1) pulse-based, parallel-element macromodel for ferroelectric capacitors.
Interaction with industry: Fujitsu (Japan): invited talk on ferroelectric memories.

Z.G. Vranesic

Research interests: multiprocessor systems; field-programmable gate arrays; synthesis of logic circuits.
Projects under investigation: NUMAchine multiprocessor; design techniques for FPGA-based systems.
Some recent contributions: 1) Developed an architecture for NUMAchine multiprocessor. 2) Proposed a technique for using ULMs (universal logic modules) in FPGAs.
Interaction with industry: IBM Canada; Maple Computer Systems.

S.G. Zaky

Research interests: computer architecture; hardware design; electromagnetic compatibility.
Projects under investigation: using dynamic CMOS in the design of asynchronous and delay-insensitive digital circuits; partitioning of large circuits into subcircuits that communicate asynchronously as a means for reducing power and simplifying clock synchronization in high-speed circuits.
Some recent contributions: development and demonstration of a new technique to increase the reliability of an asynchronous communication link; a new modeling technique and a fast algorithm for verification of deadlock-free behaviour of asynchronous systems.
Interaction with industry: Bell Canada: research work on electromagnetic interference and susceptibility; Nortel: research contract on system interconnections and asynchronous design.

J. Zhu

Research interests: hardware/software co-design; ultra-fast simulation; retargetable synthesis.
Projects under investigation: ultra-fast instruction-set simulation; soft-scheduling in high-level synthesis; an extensible system level design language.
Some recent contributions: 1) development of ultra-fast instruction-set simulation techniques; 2) new concept in behavioural and logic synthesis;
Interaction with industry:

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