Synopsys Invests in Academia with a New EDA Research Award

Presented to Professor Martin Wong, University of Illinois

Investment in academic research helps build a foundation for a brighter future by improving access to qualified employees equipped to help our company and our customers succeed, and by advancing the basic knowledge in science. Synopsys established the EDA Research Award to support the ongoing development of new ideas, accelerate innovation, and promote careers in EDA. Through this award Synopsys hopes to encourage universities and professors to continue research focused on topics important to EDA and critical to sustaining our industry and driving new technological advancements.

A committee of Synopsys senior technologists, including Patrick Groeneveld, Pei-Hsin Ho, Jamil Kawa, Narendra Shenoy and Prashant Saxena, who closely track academic research selected the award recipient. Led by Antun Domic, executive vice president and general manager of the Design Group, they reviewed a number of potential candidates who exemplified excellence in one or all of the following activities.

  • Research involving EDA technologies, design methodologies, algorithms, models, etc.
  • Research with a direct impact on Synopsys tool development
  • Projects involving significant advances in technology using EDA tools
  • Producing students that pursue careers in EDA

A plaque and $25,000 cash award was presented to Dr. Martin Wong of the University of Illinois at the 2015 Design Automation Conference for his ongoing work in advancing EDA technologies in the areas of analytical physical synthesis, floorplanning, circuit partitioning, routing, DFM and static timing analysis.

"I am honored to have been hand-selected by such an impressive committee and to receive this generous award," said Dr. Wong. "I hope to use the funds to investigate big-data and parallel processing for EDA."

Not only has Dr. Wong made significant technological contributions to the industry, he has ignited interest for EDA in his students, many of whom are now actively engaged in research and development at Synopsys.

"I make it a point to help students understand the practical importance of EDA and emphasize that their work in this academically challenging field can have a great impact in the electronics industry," said Dr. Wong. "EDA is an indispensable, enabling technology for virtually all kinds of chip design."

"The mathematical beauty of Dr. Wong's problem definitions and algorithm development is truly inspiring, and his work has influenced many developments in the EDA industry," said Antun Domic, executive vice-president and general manager of the Design Group at Synopsys. "His expertise and dedication truly exemplify the professor we had in mind when we established the Synopsys EDA Research Award. We hope that other EDA companies will join us in supporting and encouraging EDA research and careers."

Team winning Award

Jamil Kawa, Patrick Groeneveld and Narendra Shenoy congratulate Dr. Martin Wong (center right) on winning the Synopsys EDA Research Award

More about Dr. Wong

In the early 1980s, Martin Wong made a life-changing decision that would ultimately have a significant impact on the electronic design automation (EDA) industry. As a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Wong was planning to get his Ph.D. in mathematics when Computer Science captured his attention. Back then, students with backgrounds in math, science, history and even music were enrolling in Computer Science. Wong discovered that he could apply his mathematical expertise to what was then called computer-aided design or CAD, but is now known as EDA. He switched to Computer Design and focused his Ph.D. dissertation on automatic circuit layout.

"I became very interested in the problem then because it was a new and challenging industrial problem that required innovation in mathematical and algorithmic solutions," Dr. Wong recalled. "But, I didn't know at the time that automatic circuit layout would remain a challenge some 30 years later."

Dr. Wong is currently the Executive Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. He has won many top honors for his research, and is one of the most prolific writers. He has published more than 300 papers in world-class EDA conferences and journals and won numerous top-paper awards.

The Synopsys EDA Research Award is just one of many efforts the company supports for the academic community. For more information visit the University Program website.