Todd Austin

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Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Associate Director and Application Drivers Theme Leader, Gigascale System Research Consortium

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Contact Information:
Major Projects:
  • The sustained push toward smaller and smaller technology sizes has reached a point where device reliability has moved to the forefront of concerns for next-generation designs. PI Austin and his research team at University of Michigan are addressing these challenges through the StoneShield project, which is developing ultra low-cost mechanisms to protect a microprocessor pipeline and on-chip memory system from silicon defects. While traditional defect tolerance techniques require at least 100% overhead due to duplication of critical resources, the BulletProof project is exploiting the use of on-line testing-based approaches, which provide the same level of protection with overheads of less than 5%. The BulletProof team is developing novel ultra low-cost mechanisms to protect a microprocessor pipeline and on-chip memory system from silicon defects. To achieve this goal they combine area-frugal on-line testing techniques and system-level check-pointing to provide the same guarantees of reliability of traditional solutions, but at much lower cost. Their approach utilizes a microarchitectural check-pointing mechanism to create coarse-grained epochs of execution, during which distributed on-line built in self-test (BIST) mechanisms validate the integrity of the underlying hardware. In case a failure is detected, they rely on the natural redundancy of instruction-level parallel (ILP) processors to repair the system such that it can still operate in a degraded performance mode.
  • Professor Austin has redesigned and updated EECS 470 based on his experience as a processor designer at Intel in the MicroComputer Research Labs, allowing him to share a perspective on computer design rarely found in classrooms. One of his most notable innovations was the introduction of SimpleScalar into his courses, a toolset he designed, which gives researchers easily extensible, portable, high-performance test beds for computer design. It has been widely adopted as a research tool, and Professor Austin has worked with other institutions to incorporate it into their curricula and teaching as well. It is now used by more than 50 universities and 60 courses around the world.
School:
  • College of Engineering