skip to main content

Sha Receives Simon Ramo Medal


ITI Staff

ITI Professor Lui Sha and his colleagues John Lehoczky and Ragunathan Rajkumar (both from Carnegie Mellon University) were named co-recipients of the 2016 IEEE Simon Ramo Medal. IEEE Medals are the highest distinctions that the IEEE presents, and the medals reflect the significant and broad IEEE interests and purposes. The three recipients of the Simon Ramo Medal are being recognized for technical leadership and contributions to fundamental theory, practice, and standardization for engineering real-time systems.

Lui Sha
Lui Sha
Lui Sha
The IEEE Simon Ramo Medal honors the distinguished engineering contributions of Dr. Simon Ramo, former vice chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee of TRW, Inc. The medal is presented annually to up to three individuals in recognition of exceptional achievement in systems engineering and systems science.

I am extremely honored to be a part of the team receiving this honor, said Sha, a professor of computer science at Illinois. It is always gratifying to receive recognition for our hard work, but receiving this recognition as a team makes it particularly meaningful.

Sha, the Donald B. Gillies Chair in Computer Science, and his co-recipients developed a comprehensive real-time computing theory (Generalized Rate Monotonic Scheduling [GRMS] theory) that transformed real-time computing standards and became the foundation for the development of real-time systems. Today, nearly every commercially available real-time operating system, real-time middleware, the integrated modular avionics standard, and real-time development tool support the use of their theory. GRMS has been the only real-time computing method approved for safety critical applications in civil aviation since the 1990s.

Their approach has revolutionized modern real-time system design and analysis, as former NASA deputy administrator Aaron Cohen said in 1992: We now have a system that will allow [Space Station] Freedom's computers to budget their time, to choose between a variety of tasks, and decide not only which one to do first but how much time to spend in the process.

Sha was recently selected to join a NASA Advisory Council, a recognition that stemmed from his early contribution to real-time computing and recent work on complexity reduction and control architectures. The Simplex architecture allows the safe use of difficult or unverifiable complex control software. Its principles have been successfully used to improve the stability advanced avionics systems. Steve P. Miller of Rockwell Collins demonstrated that, using Physically Asynchronous Logically Synchronous architecture, the model checking time of a dual redundant flight control system dropped from over 35 hours to less than 30 seconds.

Sha has received many other recognitions throughout his career. In 2009 he received the David Lubkowski Award for the Advancement of Digital Avionics. In 2001 he received the Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions and Leadership in Real-Time Systems from the IEEE Technical Committee on Real-Time Systems. He is a Fellow of ACM and IEEE. Over the course of his career, he has served as a member of the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Avionics Advisory Team, the National Academy of Science's committee on Certifiably Dependable Software, the peer review panel of Safety Critical Avionics Systems Branch at NASA's Langley Research Center, and the NSF's Planning Committee on Cyber Physical Systems on high assurance medical devices.