Synopsys News Room Feature Article 

Congratulations to Kee Sup Kim, Recipient of the 2014 A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award 

In a new office, Kee Sup Kim is settling in. If someone walks by when Kee Sup is not in, the bare walls give away few secrets about this Synopsoid who joined the team in mid-May with a charter to drive Strategic Collaboration. But one plaque tells there is something very interesting about the person who works here—it’s the 2014 IEEE A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award. It says to you, “Come back when Kee Sup is here. The stories he tells will make you think for days.”

This year’s A. Richard Newton Award winner Kee Sup Kim

This year’s A. Richard Newton Award winner Kee Sup Kim joined Synopsys in May 2014.

If you stop by Kee Sup’s office while he is in, he greets you with a warm smile. Bright eyes convey a love for learning. When Kee Sup begins to talk, you feel the power of one of his greatest strengths, his innate ability to teach. Kee Sup immediately establishes a connection with those around him by sharing details of his life that could turn into valuable lessons if you are willing to add some time and thought.

On Kee Sup’s first day at Synopsys, he wore a tie to signify the new beginning. “I am very excited to join Synopsys,” says Kee Sup, who is responsible for initiating and orchestrating R&D collaboration projects between Synopsys and select strategic customers. “We have an opportunity to break the mold, to change how we collaborate.”

Kee Sup’s excitement was somewhat grounded on that first day. He couldn’t help but laugh when he saw his badge photo cropped just above the tie. His lesson: Sometimes we need to remember that what’s most important is above the tie!

What are most important to Kee Sup are his family and his love for technology. Ever since he was a child, he’s enjoyed breaking things and putting them back together again—eventually. As he grew older, his passion for technology propelled him to pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which he received from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kee Sup’s ever-increasing love for technology launched an exhilarating, award-winning career that has included 18 years at Intel, four years at Samsung and now new beginnings at Synopsys.

2014 A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award

One of Kee Sup’s most recent achievements is being named a recipient of this year’s A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award, as evidenced by the plaque in his new office. Who was the first person to congratulate him? “Of course, the love of my life!” he says of his wife. The prestigious Newton Award recognizes outstanding technical contributions in EDA as evidenced by a paper published at least 10 years ago.

Congratulations to Kee Sup Kim and his co-author, Subhasish Mitra, who were honored on stage at the opening plenary session at DAC 2014 in San Francisco for winning the A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award.

Kee Sup and his co-author published their paper in 2002

Kee Sup and his co-author published their paper in 2002 titled: “X-Compact: An Efficient Response Compaction Technique for Test Cost Reduction.”

The paper for which Kee Sup and his co-author, Subhasish Mitra, were honored is titled “X-Compact: An Efficient Response Compaction Technique for Test Cost Reduction.” Kee Sup and Subhasish’s paper in the area of design for test affected adjacent academic disciplines such as coding theory. Coding theorists started a series of work called X-code based on their work, and a prominent professor from Stanford called Kee Sup and Subhasish’s work the best innovation in test since the invention of the scan. The Richard Newton award in 2014 wasn’t the only award they received for this work. In 2005, Kee Sup and Subhasish received the Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award, which recognizes the best paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems.

Kee Sup summarizes his award-winning paper in this way: “The award is based on our work on response compaction in the presence of X. When there are unknown signals (Xs) present in a design, it is difficult to compact output due to X masking error responses, and it can affect test quality. We have proven that with our construction approach, we can build a very simple circuit (equivalent of 2 XOR gates per output) and exponentially reduce the number of outputs that we need to observe without affecting quality. We applied a similar idea on the input side as well to get exponential reduction in test time. Due to this, it achieved test cost savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the company we worked for and was used by many others in the industry as well. In the paper cited, we had mathematically shown that our approach was the absolute minimum that can be done.”

Secrets to Success

For anyone who has a chance to meet Kee Sup, the question to ask is, “What is your secret to success?” Kee Sup doesn’t hesitate in his response. “Play to your strengths, learn to analyze the tasks and expand the scope to solve even bigger problems,” Kee Sup says. These are elements of WOW! Projects, introduced by Tom Peters in his 1994 book.

After Kee Sup learned about WOW! Projects as a senior manager, he applied what he learned to produce his winning paper in 2002—and at every opportunity. He even applied the principles during his spare time, coaching his son’s high school robotics team to three consecutive world championship appearances and an unofficial world record.

In essence, WOW! Projects look like this: “Projects that add value, projects that matter, projects that make a difference, projects that leave a legacy—and, yes, projects that make you a star.”

Congratulations to this Synopsys star, Kee Sup Kim!

Kee Sup’s secrets to success

Kee Sup’s secrets to success: “Play to your strengths, learn to analyze tasks and expand the scope to solve even bigger problems.”