Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto
NSERC/Altera Industrial Research Chair in Programmable Silicon
- The architecture of new programmable devices that are easier to use and easier to share in the data center; my recent work in this area has focused on integrating Networks-on-Chip within FPGAs.
- Hardware acceleration of important problems and software tools to optimize medical treatments; most recently I've focused on simulating photon scattering in complex human tissue to aid photodynamic cancer treatments. This is a form of light-activated chemotherapy which can better target tumours than conventional chemotherapy, but which requires advanced computation to determine where the fiber optic light probes should be placed (via hyperdermic needles) to achieve the best results.
- New Computer-Aided Design tools to make it easier to design hardware, in particular my group is working on a modular design flow that can let us implement a large FPGA design in separate pieces that can easily be physically integrated so all the wiring and timing needs of the design are met.
- A combination of a software CAD system and a smart, feedback controlled power supply to determine the minimum safe voltage for an FPGA design on a specific chip to save power (dynamic voltage scaling for FPGAs).
- CAD tools and hardware changes to make FPGAs better suited to the data center; in particular we are seeking ways to let FPGA tasked be interrupted and safely context switched in and out of hardware in a data center.
- FPGA architecture and circuit design to create new and more efficient chips
Biography and CV
Research and Design Students
Software and benchmarks, including VPR, the Titan23 benchmarks, COFFE, and EasyGL
Entrepreneurship mentoring and activities
Our very sincere thanks to the companies and organizations that have sponsored our research, which include:
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Intel, Altera, The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Lattice Semiconductor, IBM, The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), the Semiconductor Research Corporation, Huawei, The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Program (SOSCIP), Toshiba Corporation, Texas Instruments, and Theralase
Congratulations to Kosuke Tatsumura and Sadegh Yazdanshenas for their paper on improving FPGAs with magnetic tunnel junctions which won the best paper award at the 2016 IEEE Int. Conference on Field Programmable Technology. Their paper showed that integrating magnetic tunnel junctions in an FPGA enables 3x the block RAM memory capacity, with no die size increase.
I was recently honoured to receive the Ontario Professional Engineers Medal for Engineering Excellence. [Video on my career and research]
Our work on using FPGAs (agile computing) to make an emerging form of minimally invasive cancer treatment (photodynamic therapy) more effective and usable in more situations was featured at the recent IBM CASCON.
I presented a keynote on The Case for Embedding Networks-on-Chip in FPGA Architectures at the recent Field Programmable Technology Conference in New Zealand.
I recently received the FPL Community Award for my contributions to placement and routing frameworks for FPGA research. I have had many students and collaborators on the VPR and VTR projects that form this framework; my thanks to them all and they should share in this recognition.
Two of the group's papers were recently selected as being amongst a select group of influential papers from the first 25 years of the Field Programmable Logic and Applications Conference, the FPL 25.
Congratulations to Kevin Murray for winning the prestigious NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship! Kevin is working on new CAD tools for FPGAs that can divide-and-conquer the implementation of an FPGA design to keep runtime and design time reasonable despite ever growing chip sizes.
Congratulations to Mohamed Abdelfattah and Andrew Bitar on their FPGA 2015 paper Take the Highway: Design for Embedded NoCs on FPGAs won the Best Paper Award! This paper defined design rules for using an embedded NoC on an FPGA in both latency-sensitive and latency-insensitive design styles, and showed that such a NoC can reduce FPGA wiring congestion and enable new applications like high-bandwidth Ethernet switching.
Congratulations to Matthew An on his FCCM 2014 paper Speeding Up FPGA Placement: Parallel Algorithms and Methods won the Best Paper Award! This paper showed a new method to speed up placement using multiple processors that achieves a 34x time reduction on 64 processors, with only a 2% quality loss vs. high-quality sequential placement.
Congratulations to Team FuelWear of the Entrepreneurship Hatchery at the University of Toronto. I was Team FuelWear's faculty mentor, and the team created a successful Indiegogo campaign and won the Lacavera Prize, raising over $100,000 in total for their business idea of smart, electrically-heated winter sportwear.
Congratulations to Mohamed Abdelfattah, whose FPL 2013 paper The Power of Communication: Energy Efficient NoCs for FPGAs won the S. Vassiliadis Award for Best Paper. This paper shows that NoCs on FPGAs can be made surprisingly power-efficient, approaching the power-efficiency of even the lowest-level FPGA communication styles.
Congratulations to Jeff Cassidy on being awarded the prestigious Canadian Institute of Health Research Canada Graduate Scholarship to pursue his PhD! Jeff will be building on his MASc work to use hardware to rapidly compute optimized photodynamic cancer treatment plans, as he works toward a clinical cancer treatment system.
Award ceremony picture
Congratulations to Mohamed Abdelfattah on being awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Canada's highest award for graduate students)!
Award ceremony picture
I hold the NSERC/Altera Industrial Research Chair in Programmable Silicon; my sincere thanks to NSERC and Altera for this great research opportunity.
A panel of experts has chosen the FPGA 20: the twenty-five most influential papers from 20 years of the International FPGA Symposium. Six of my papers are included in the FPGA 25.
Read more on the University of Toronto's impact in the FPGA 20 (and the FPGA industry) here.
I co-chaired the FPGA 2012 workshop, which was on "FPGAs in 2032: Opportunities and Challenges for the Next 20 Years." Seven visionaries from industry and academia shared their thoughts, leading to a very interesting set of presentations and discussion. See the slides and video