Faculty and grad students win best paper honor at international symposium

March 03, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Computer science and engineering researchers are the winners of the 21st Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture best paper award. 

The paper, titled “Architecture Exploration for Ambient Energy Harvesting Nonvolatile Processors,” was authored by Kaisheng Ma, Yang Zheng, Shuangchen Li, Karthik Swaminathan, all graduate students and Xueqing Li, a postdoctoral researcher. This effort was co-authored and mentored by Vijay Narayanan, distinguished professor of computer science and engineering and electrical engineering and John Sampson, assistant professor of computer science and engineering. 

Along with Penn State researchers, the paper was a collaborative effort with Professor Yongpan Liu of Tsinghua University in China and Professor Yuan Xie from the University of California Santa Barbara and was sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center ASSIST and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) STARNET LEAST. 

According to Narayanan, the paper shows the design of a processor that can retain its state and make forward computational progress even in the absence of power.

“Essentially, we will create a processor for electronics that won’t lose the work being done if the user loses power,” explained Narayanan.

The researchers are creating a smart processor that will work efficiently with fickle power supply. If power is lost, when it returns the processor will pick up where the work left off.

“You won’t have to stop at checkpoints to save your work,” said Narayanan. “Right now when you lose power when counting from one to 10 at "four”, you go back to one, two, three, four. With this processor when you lose power, your work will continue where you left off, five, six, seven, eight.”

The award for the paper, which was one of 51 accepted, was presented at the annual convention in February in San Francisco. 

The annual IEEE Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture provides a premier forum for scientists and engineers to present their latest research findings in this rapidly-changing field.

  • HPCA Best Paper

    Narayanan (left) and Sampson (right)

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated March 03, 2015