Information Trust Institute block of abstract images
Information Trust Institute block of abstract images

Vasudevan receives ACM SIGDA Outstanding New Faculty Award

CSL professor Shobha Vasudevan was named the 2013 ACM SIGDA Outstanding New Faculty Award recipient. Vasudevan, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, will be presented the award at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) in June. DAC, the premier conference for design automation, is attended by several thousand of researchers, academics, engineers and designers each year.

ITI Professor Shobha Vasudevan
ITI Professor Shobha Vasudevan

The award is given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Design Automation (SIGDA). It is presented to one junior faculty member who displays outstanding potential as an educator and/or researcher in the field of electronic design automation during the initial years of their academic appointment.

“It’s an honor for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory because it brings great visibility to the department and to Prof. Vasudevan,” said Professor Emeritus Janak H. Patel, who added that Vasudevan often comes to his office full of ideas and energy about new research.

Receiving this award in 2013 is especially rewarding to Vasudevan, as DAC will be held in Austin, TX to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Vasudevan received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, so the conference will be attended by many former colleagues, including her advisor.

“Every paper I write, research software I produce or student I graduate is a rewarding experience in itself,” Vasudevan said. “Getting recognized by the community that these things are aimed at is icing on the cake. Nevertheless, it is valuable and it motivates me to strive harder to contribute more to this community.”

Vasudevan added that this award is a great validation of the excellent work the students in her lab at the University of Illinois have been doing and should be a source of encouragement to them as well.

Vasudevan’s research spans many areas of design automation, including design verification, analog verification, reliability system level design, including post and pre Silicon validation and embedded system testing. Her most significant impact came from the development of an automatic assertion generation tool called GoldMine. The tool, which was conceived by Vasudevan in 2009 and has been researched and developed into a full-fledged usable software, integrates formal verification and data mining to guarantee reliable, fault-free hardware.

“At the time I conceptualized the idea of GoldMine, few people in the community believed that automatic assertion generation was a valid goal,” Vasudevan said. “People are now able to use the tool and realize that it is possible to generate valuable assertions automatically. Even the traditionalists are able to see that manually writing assertions is not the only solution. The extent of adoption is across a spectrum now. We want to disseminate it widely in research and academic environments, so they can build on this technology.”

Vasudevan is excited about ongoing and future research in her lab on embedded system analysis and analog verification. She is working with a student on identifying root causes of performance failure in embedded systems like mobile devices, as well as inferring deadlock avoidance properties in such system implementations. She is also working with another student on generating input validation stimulus and reachability analysis of analog circuits.

In addition to her contributions to the hardware systems world, Vasudevan is also passionate about encouraging other women in engineering. She’s currently working to build Mytri, a professional networking model for women in engineering, with the hope of connecting women in computing at the University of Illinois.

Vasudevan began working at the University of Illinois in 2008 and has since graduated one Ph.D. student and three master’s students. She is currently working with three Ph.D. students, three master’s students and four undergraduate students. She is also Information Trust Institute faculty member.

Vasudevan is the second University of Illinois professor from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory to win this award, joining Associate Professor Deming Chen, who won the award in 2010.