Other Event | Distinguished Lecture
Collegiate Professorship Lecture and Ceremony
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Please join Prof. Alec Gallimore, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering; Prof. Brian Noble, Chair of Computer Science and Engineering; Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering S. Jack Hu; and the University of Michigan Computer Science and Engineering Division as we honor Prof. Todd Austin for his appointment to a collegiate professorship.
Professor Austin will be installed at the S. Jack Hu Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and will present a lecture.
Biography – Prof. Todd Austin is a recognized leader in the area of computer architecture research, having delivered several seminal papers that have changed the landscape of research in the field. From 2013 – 2018, he was the director of the Center for future Architectures, a $28M research center which that the field’s largest research center at the time.
Most recently, Austin began work on with a $3.6M DARPA grant to design an “unhackable” computer that is inspired by the human immune system. He leads the project, called Morpheus, which uses an immunological approach that is dramatically different from today’s software approaches. The project outlines a new way to design hardware so that information is rapidly and randomly moved and destroyed. The technology works to elude the attacker from the critical information they need to construct a successful attack—it could protect both hardware and software.
In 2016, Austin led a project that identified a hardware backdoor that can be secretly added to a microprocessor design late in the fabrication stage. This backdoor could be triggered later via software commands to trip the system’s “privilege” bit and take over control of the host system. His paper, “A2: Analog Malicious Hardware,” earned top honors at the 37th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.
Austin’s past influential projects include Bulletproof, a set of novel, ultra low-cost mechanisms to protect a microprocessor pipeline and on-chip memory system from silicon defects, and Razor, a low-power processor design based on timing speculation that increases energy efficiency with little performance impact. The latter inspired the movement for “probabilistic computing” in which an architecture is permissive of errors in order to save power, time, and other resources. In earlier work, he released SimpleScalar, one of the first execution-driven architectural simulators, and his paper describing it has been cited over 3500 times. The simulator led to a revolution of quantitative computer architecture research where performance analysis became a required ingredient of every published paper.
In 2017, he was named an IEEE Fellow for his contributions to simulation techniques and resilient system design in computer architecture. Amongst his many recognitions, he has twice received the Richard Newton Gigascale Systems Research Center Industrial Impact Award and has also received the ACM/SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award, the U-M Henry Russel Award, the U-M Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, and a number of research and teaching awards from the College of Engineering. Early in his career at Michigan, he received an NSF CAREER Award and was selected as a Sloan Fellow.