Welcome to the GREEN IC group homepage
(Green Resilient Energy Efficient Nanoscale Integrated Circuits )

Welcome to our homepage! We hope you will enjoy the contents and find it interesting.
The group is lead by Prof. Massimo Alioto, and involves amazing people who are passionate about integrated circuit technology and its impact on the life of (many) people. Energy efficiency is the focal point of our activity, as its improvement can bring large benefits to our environment and drive the evolution of everyday electronic objects through their form factor and battery lifetime (e.g., mobile systems, Internet of Things).
Below there is a short description of our interests, location, vision and mission. Please, contact Prof. Massimo Alioto for further information.

What
The Green IC group aims to develop cutting-edge research on extremely energy-efficient integrated circuits for high-performance, mobile and ubiquitous micro and nano systems. The group focuses on the following fundamental energy-centric research thrusts that cover the entire range from physical sensing to data sensemaking:

untethering all human senses, from sight to hearing to smell, and enable truly distributed sensing via innovative energy-autonomous systems and wireless sensors with nearly perpetual operation (e.g., ultra-low power analog interfaces, digital processing, power management). This is far more difficult (and interesting) than existing sensors measuring traditional physical quantities (e.g., environmental, strain, etc.), getting closer to human capabilities while enabling the unprecedented ability to have it distributed and ubiquitous. Applications involve biomedical, distributed surveillance, smart cities, smart buildings, structural monitoring, smart cameras, among the others
• error-resilient near-threshold VLSI circuits and systems for at least 10X improvement in energy efficiency for mobile and wearable applications (both error-free and energy-quality scalable computing are of interest)
• circuit- to system-level techniques to enhance the energy efficiency of high-speed VLSI circuits to enable continued performance enhancements under a tight power budget
• circuit and system integration with emerging and post-CMOS technologies for green computing
• enable ubiquitous data sensemaking via innovative ultra-lightweight approaches to embed machine learning on a chip, tackling the unaddressed challenge of retaining excellent accuracy of deep learning (and other techniques) while fitting the typical energy and area requirements of single chips. With the ultimate goal of on-chip learning and inference, we are approaching this problem from the collective perspectives of algorithm, circuit and architecture, while leveraging their inherent error resiliency to apply our strong expertise in energy-quality scalable circuits.


Where
The Green IC group is part of the ECE department of the National University of Singapore (NUS), a leading global university centered in Asia. According to QS World University Rankings by Subject, in 2015 NUS is ranked 4th worldwide in Electrical & Electronic Engineering (it was 6th in 2014), 9th in the reputation ranking, and 12th in the global ranking.
It is located in the heart of Singapore, geographic and technology focal point in Asia, with a well world-renowned technology ecosystem and fast-growing economy.
Key drivers of economy are semiconductors, electronic circuit design/manufacturing, smart logistics/manufacturing, and the bio-medical sector. It is also being the field of a massive demonstration of technologies for smart cities.

Mission

Improve our quality of life and reduce our environmental impact by introducing innovative and creative integrated circuit solutions with dramatically improved energy efficiency, reduced form factor, extended lifetime and lower cost.
The ultimate goal is to enable the delivery of massive / accurate / secure / personalized information, and a finer control of our environment and our body, which is pursued by tackling only the very important challenges and nurturing self-criticism to constantly strive for excellence.
As we strongly value use-inspired research, the number of people who can have access and benefit from such technologies is the measure of our success.

Vision
Energy efficiency is the common denominator in the challenges of improving quality of life and reducing environmental impact through the diffusion of low-cost electronic systems whose usage does not interfere with their surroundings (spatially thanks to their extreme compactness, temporally thanks to their energy autonomy).

We believe that dramatic improvements energy efficiency can be obtained through few clean principles, which we explore in many different ways:
  • electronics is going towards increasingly complex systems: meaningful circuit solutions need to fit a system concept first
  • energy efficiency comes from synergy: working cooperatively across levels of abstraction leads to benefits that are largely greater than the sum of the single benefits
  • energy is a valuable currency, and needs to be continuously traded off with other available commodities (performance/data rate, error rate/signal quality, resolution...)
  • energy needs to be truly scalable across voltage and time-varying specifications: every time we can give up something, energy needs to benefit from it
  • emerging technologies are a tremendous source of inspiration to look at the future, and to learn new ways to use what exists
  • understanding or at least measuring are powerful tools to increase energy efficiency by avoiding pessimism and reducing design margin
  • intelligence and data sensemaking need to be widely distributed, as the current cloud-based computing prohibits too many interesting applications due to the large cost of wireless communication
  • failures are part of our life, as well as of electronics systems: dealing with them nicely is certainly more effective than just ignoring or pessimistically budgeting for them.
The above general principles inspire our thinking and are being extensively applied in our research to come up with creative solutions to the challenge of improving energy efficiency by the next 10X.
As an attempt to link the above principles with pragmatic circuit design directions under the perspective of voltage scaling, you might be interested in checking the following overviews / editorials by Prof. Alioto:
- IEEE TCAS-II Editorial for the special issue on "Ultra-Low Voltage VLSI Circuits and Systems for Green Computing"
- IEEE TCAS-I overview paper opening the 2012 Editorial Year
HotChips invited talk summarizing the vision of Prof. Alioto and the challenges related to the Internet of Things (2014)
- ISCAS 2015 panel discussion on CAD Tools for Circuits and Systemswhere Prof. Alioto shares his vision on how CAD tools will evolve in the next decade (see slides).










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