Research Overview

Prof. Heather Zheng at the white board

Computer Engineering Research at UCSB

CE research lies not only at the interface of computer science and electrical engineering, but increasingly ties computing together with biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, and even environmental engineering.

Our research is ideally positioned to help solve societal problems through the construction of practical systems composed of emerging technologies. We live in a time of both opportunity and crisis. Rising carbon emissions and energy costs are a global problem. Aging populations increasingly strain healthcare resources. Computing technologies are at the heart of many potential solutions to these problems. Emerging technologies in nanoscale and bio-compatible materials hold the promise to increase energy-efficiency and revolutionize healthcare. We also see opportunities in massive information gathering and large-scale computing resources to exploit that information.

We must also address increasing challenges to continued scaling of conventional silicon and to maintaining the dramatic performance growth of past computing systems.

CE Areas of Research

  • Bioinspired Computing
  • Circuit and System Design
  • Computer Architecture
  • Electronic Design Automation & Testing
  • Emerging Technologies for Computing

  • Energy-efficient Computing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Networking
  • Operating and Distributed Systems
  • Software and Language

Faculty Lab Spotlight

High Level Systems Design Lab
Forrest Brewer

The High Level Systems Design lab builds circuits. Our lab encompasses the stages of electronic design from the development of tools for exploring what to build to the layout of transistors for the fabrication of prototype chips. Once an integrated circuit is fabricated we test the final design to verify its construction and incorporate the results into our body of knowledge used to built the future chips. 

Radiation Hardened Electronics image

Radiation Hardened Electronics
Space exploration, physics experiments, power plants and medical technology all share a need for electronics which survive in extreme environments, where electromagnetic radiation can destroy traditional digital electronics. Our lab develops tools that enable the design of circuits able to withstand the impact of radiation and still function successfully. This means when a circuit needs to survive inside of a particle accelerator we are able to build a design for that or if a robot needs to be controlled in space, we can build circuits for that, too.

Asynchronous Architectures & CAD Tools imageAsynchronous Architectures & CAD Tools

Our lab explores designs where the clock is missing and the computation is carried out using event driven operations. We build CAD tools to verify and synthesize closed models of high performance asynchronous systems.

Mixed Signal Circuit/System Design image

Mixed Signal Circuit/System Design
Mixed signal design intermingles the traditional paradigm of boolean logic with the physics of analog electronics to built novel integrated circuits. Our research considers how concepts like integrated charge enable successful designs of serial links in a design space where traditional metrics would predict failure. 

Bitstream Control & Signal Processing

Bitstream Control & Signal Processing image

This research involves developing formal methodologies and techniques for designing digital circuits around computation on raw bitstreams.  The results are digital circuits which deliver low latency, low complexity, and low power performance for applications like active noise cancellation and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) control.

Faculty Research News

Prof. Chandra Krintz selected UCSB's 2016 Faculty Sustainability Champion for her SmartFarm project

photo of chandra krintzKrintz has taken her engineering expertise out of the lab and is sharing it with growers to help with food sustainability. The award for the hybrid cloud-based sensor system for simplifying and automating agriculture analytics comes with a $25,000 grant.

Professor Tim Sherwood receives the 2016 ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award

photo of kaustav banerjeeThe award was presented to Sherwood, "for contributions to novel program analysis advancing architectural modeling and security." It acknowledges outstanding contributions to computer architecture made within the first 20 years of a career.

Faculty Research Profile: Professor Tevfik Bultan

photo of Tevfik Bultan
  • Ph.D.: University of Maryland
  • Lab / Group: Verfication Lab (Vlab)
  • Research Areas: Software Verification, Program Analysis, Software Engineering, Computer Security

Tell Us About Your Research: My research focuses on automated verification techniques and their application to software. As computer systems become more pervasive, their dependability becomes increasingly important. As a result, there is an ongoing shift in focus, both in academia and industry, from performance to dependability. The size and complexity of the software systems nowadays inevitably lead to errors during both design and implementation phases. The goal of our research at VLab is to develop verification techniques that will help developers in identifying errors in software. Recently, we have developed a novel approach for finding data model bugs in software applications written using the Ruby-on-Rails framework, where programming errors could lead to loss of data or unauthorized access to data — see research full description

What do you Find Particularly Rewarding about your Research?:

Computing is a young field. It has changed the world already, but this is just the beginning. For years to come, human civilization will be heavily influenced by the advancements in the field of computing. Conducting scientific research in computing is a very fulfilling way to contribute to this future. I am particularly interested in research problems about analyzing software. The core of computing discipline is programming, in other words, writing software. By focusing on software analysis, I get to work on one of the core problems in the field of computing.

(More about Professor Bultan and other faculty's research...)

Research Initiative – Li-C. Wang

Main areas of research:

photo of li wang
  • Big Data analytics for the semiconductor chip design
  • Data mining in design automation and test
  • Functional verification
  • Test data mining

Research lab: Microprocessor Test and Validation

Read the article in the Fall 2015 ECE Current