Current News

The Internet of Things: From Hype to Reality

The Internet of Things: From Hype to Reality

Get some insights into the future of the Internet of Things including the so-called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in this article featuring commentary by Prof. David Blaauw. Read The Internet of Things: From Hype to Reality, by Edwin Cartlidge, Optics & Photonics News, September 2017 – Online or download the PDF. [Full Story]

You’d Never Have to Plug in This Battery-Free Cell Phone

Prof. David Blaauw offers feedback on this concept for a batteryless cellphone. Overall what they are doing is very interesting and they are pursuing a goal that everyone would love and kill for.” [Full Story]

2017 ISCA Influential Paper Award for Groundbreaking Research in Power-efficient Computing

2017 ISCA Influential Paper Award for Groundbreaking Research in Power-efficient Computing

For their groundbreaking research in power-efficient computing, faculty and former students of the department received the 2017 ACM SIGARCH and IEEE-CS TCCA ISCA Influential Paper Award. The researchers developed a method to intelligently put parts of a computer’ memory into a low power mode to save energy. Since 2002, the technique has been adopted by major chip manufacturers, and has continued to be exploited in subsequent research by the authors themselves. [Full Story]

Speck-Size Computers: Now With Deep Learning

Speck-Size Computers: Now With Deep Learning

The author describes the Michigan Micro Mote and research by David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester presented at the 2017 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference. They presented 10 papers in all related to the micromote computers. [Full Story]

CubeWorks: Solving Problems with the Worlds Smallest and Lowest-power Computers

CubeWorks: Solving Problems with the Worlds Smallest and Lowest-power Computers

CubeWorks, founded by the team at University of Michigan that developed the Michigan Micro Mote (M3), the worlds smallest computer, has been flying under the radar since late in 2013. This startup company specializes in the worlds smallest and lowest-power sensing technology. With its first outside funding from Intel (see the press release), the CEO of CubeWorks is now looking two years into the future, when he hopes to be manufacturing millimeter-scale computing devices for their first customers. [Full Story]

What Surveillance Will Look Like in the Future: Even Bugs Will Be Bugged

The Atlantic

Prof. David Blaauw gets a mention in the Atlantic for building the world’s smallest computers, which can be equipped with cameras and other sensors. [Full Story]

David Blaauw Honored with SIA/SRC University Research Award

David Blaauw Honored with SIA/SRC University Research Award

Prof. David Blaauw was presented with the University Research Award by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), in consultation with Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), in recognition of his outstanding contributions to semiconductor research in the area of design research. He was presented with the award by the SIA Board on September 21, 2016 in San Jose, CA. [Full Story]

Screen Savers: The World’ Smallest Computer

Screen Savers: The World' Smallest Computer

The new episode of Screen Savers features Prof. David Blaauw, whose team has developed the world’ smallest computer. The Michigan Micro Mote (M3) works as a fully functioning computer on the millimeter scale. [Full Story]

Two Papers by Michigan Researchers Chosen as IEEE Micro Top Picks

IEEE Micro Top Picks

Two papers authored by EECS researchers have been selected for IEEE Micro’ Top Picks from the 2015 Computer Architecture Conferences. The two papers from Michigan introduced the Sirius personal digital assistant and the MBus bus for modular microcomputing systems. [Full Story]  

Video of the week: Injectable radio broadcasts through flesh in real-time

The Engineer

The Engineer highlighted research by Prof. David Wentzloff and David Blaauw on an injectable radio that can broadcast from inside the human body. This latest advance will enable the relay of information in real-time to devices monitoring heart fibrillation as well as glucose monitoring for diabetics. [Full Story]

Injectable Computers Can Broadcast from Inside the Body


Profs. David Blaauw and David Wenzloff are designing millimeter-scale ultra-low-power sensing systems that can be injected into the body through a syringe. Unlike other radios of this size, these new devices are able to broadcast through the human body to an external receiver. [Full Story]

This ” Clever” Backdoor Hides in a Tiny Slice of a Computer Chip


This article in Wired describes work by Michigan researchers that demonstrates how a hacker could hide a malicious backdoor in silicon and trigger it to gain access to a computing system. Google engineer Yonatan Zunger is quoted as saying ” is the most demonically clever computer security attack Ive seen in years.” [Full Story]

Fundamental science will play a key role in finding cancer cure

A tiny device on the edge of a coin

Prof. David Blaauw is part of a team that NSF recently funded to develop millimeter-sized, ultra-low-power electronic biosensors for implantation in tumors to determine chemotherapy impacts. Monitoring of tumor micro-environments during therapy could inform chemotherapy duration, result in more successful chemotherapy and advance the science of implantable biosensors. [Full Story]

MBus is the Missing Interconnect for Millimeter-Scale Systems


Looking ahead to millimeter scale computing and the future of ubiquitous computing, EECS faculty members David Blaauw, Prabal Dutta, graduate students Patrick Pannuto and Benjamin Kempke, research scientist Ye-Sheng Kuo, and a number of other Michigan researchers have created MBus, a chip-to-chip interconnect that facilitates an ultra-low power system operation. [Full Story]

Injectable Radios to Broadcast From Inside the Body

Injectable Radios to Broadcast From Inside the Body

IEEE Spectrum reported on medical devices being developed at Michigan that may one day be small enough to go through a syringe. Professors David Blaauw and David Wentzloff are collaborating with researchers at the U-M medical school to come up with the first test application. These devices will be able to monitor oxygen, glucose, and other biometrics, or follow disease progression in tumors. [Full Story]

3 ECE Companies Make the Silicon 60 List – AGAIN!

Silicon 60

For the second year in a row, three startup companies co-founded by ECE faculty alumni made the EE Times Silicon 60 List of tech startups to watch. Ambiq Micro (Prof. David Blaauw, Prof. Dennis Sylvester, and alumnus Dr. Scott Hanson), Crossbar, Inc. (Prof. Wei Lu), and PsiKick (Prof. David Wentzloff), are leading the way in ultra-low power chip design, pioneering computer memory, and ultra-low power wireless sensor platforms for the Internet of Things. [Full Story]

Mud-Fueled Smart Sensors for the Bottom of the Ocean

Mud-Fueled Smart Sensors for the Bottom of the Ocean

If you put tiny electrodes in the mud on the ocean floor, you can harvest enough energy to power a tiny sensor platform that can monitor whats going on at those depths. The sensing platform draws just 2 nanowatts, and is part of a broader portfolio of work focused on powering electronic systems with low energy sources. [Full Story]  

At 50 Years Old, The Challenge To Keep Up With Moores Law


NPRs All Tech Considered: Fifty years ago this week, a chemist in what is now Silicon Valley published a paper that set the groundwork for the digital revolution. That man was Gordon Moore. Moores Law is all about electronic miniaturization, and the article talks about the worlds smallest computer, the Michigan Micro Mote, currently on display at the Computer History Museum. [Full Story]

The Crazy-Tiny Next Generation of Computers


This article in Medium describes Prof. Prabal Dutta’s interest in Smart Dust – a network of tiny, sensor-enabled autonomous computers – and its ability to measure everyday data to solve issues of critical sustainability. It traces how he began collaborating with Profs. David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester on the development of the Michigan Micro Mote (M3), which is now the world’s smallest and first millimeter scale computer. [Full Story]

This is the worlds smallest computer

CBS News

CBS News did a video and story about the Michigan Micro Mote (M3), which is the world’s smallest computer and the world’s first millimeter scale computer. “As the Internet of Things (IoT) gets bigger, the Michigan team is pushing to make computers ever smaller.” [Full Story]

Michigan Micro Mote (M3) Makes History

Computer History Museum

Michigan Micro Mote (M3), the worlds smallest computer, is taking its place among other revolutionary accomplishments in the history of computing at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Measuring in at less than a half a centimeter, it is a fully autonomous computing system that acts as a smart sensing system. [Full Story]

EE Times Highlights ECE Research at ISSCC

EE Times Highlights ECE Research at ISSCC

EE Times offered 18 Views of ISSCC through photos of some of the most interesting and cutting-edge products and research shown at the event. They showcased research by Prof. Blaauw, Prof. Sylvester, and graduate student Wootaek Lim. The chip is an ARM Cortex-M0+ running off a 0.09mm2 solar cell that puts out 400 picowatts, thanks to novel circuits designed to suppress power leakage. Electronics360 previewed the work, calling it a stand-out paper. [Electronics360 preview

Talking Book trial to help poorest of poor in Ghana

Talking Book trial to help poorest of poor in Ghana

[BBC News: Nov 20] Hundreds of handheld audio computers, called Talking Books, are to be given to some of Ghana’s poorest communities to help spread potentially life-saving information. Leading the low power chip design for the devices at Michigan are Profs. David Blaauw and Peter Chen. [Full Story]

3 ECE Companies on Silicon 60 List

Silicon 60

EE Times announced their Silicon 60, the top 60 startup companies it is worth watching, and three of those companies were co-founded by ECE faculty. Ambiq Micro, Inc. (David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester); Crossbar Inc. (Wei Lu); and PsiKick Inc. (David Wentzloff) are leading the way in ultra-low-power chip design, pioneering computer memory, and ultra-low power wireless sensor platforms for the Internet of Things. [Full Story]

Student Spotlight: Gyouho Kim – A big talent for creating tiny devices

Student Spotlight for Gyouho Kim

Gyouho Kim is completing his thesis in electrical engineering in the area of ultra-low power VLSI design. He is designing a millimeter-scale visual system that is complete with optics, processing capability and battery. Solar cells are used to harvest the minuscule amount of energy needed to operate. [Full Story]

Silicon Valley to Get a Cellular Network, Just for Things

MIT Technology Review

Prof. David Blaauw comments on What’s Next – which in this article means the Internet of Things, and the need for a wireless network for “things” rather than person-to-person communication. [Full Story]  

Business Adapts to a New Style of Computer

MIT Technology Review

“For more than a decade technologists have predicted and argued about the onslaught of these ubiquitous devices [Internet of Things]. ‘There is lot of quibbling about what to call it, but theres little doubt that were seeing the inklings of a new class of computer,’ says David Blaauw, who leads a lab at the University of Michigan that makes functioning computers no bigger than a typed letter o.” [Full Story]

Leaders in Ultra Low Power Circuits and Systems Presenting at VLSI Circuits Symposium

2014 VLSI Circuits Symposium

Michigan faculty and students will present seven papers at the 2014 Symposium on VLSI Circuits, a number that exceeds any other academic institution or company. The seven papers range from a millimeter-scale wireless imaging system, to a chip that can decipher an image in a manner similar to the human brain, to continued optimization of the circuits we use every day, as well as circuits that will fuel the future Internet of Things. One of the papers, Low Power Battery Supervisory Circuit with Adaptive Battery Health Monitor, has been selected as a Symposium Technical Highlight. [Full Story]

Ask Anything: What Happens In Your Computer When You Turn It On?

A mouse running on a wheel

No, the little mouse inside it does not start scrambling around. Prof. David Blaauw describes the circuit that plays a role in turning on your computer, and then keeps it from getting confused, in a brief article in Popular Science. [Full Story]

Six ECE Faculty Recognized for Excellence

ECE Fab 6

The College of Engineering recognized David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester for Innovation Excellence, Yogesh Gianchandani for Research Excellence, Stephane Lafortune for Education Excellence, and Anatoly Maksimchuk as Outstanding Research Scientist. [Full Story]

Bharan Giridhar awarded Intel PhD Fellowship

Bharan Giridhar

Bharan Giridhar, a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering, has been selected to receive an Intel Corporation Ph.D. Fellowship to pursue his research in VLSI chip design, with an emphasis on developing circuit techniques for adaptive and reliable, high-performance computing. [Full Story]

2013 DAC Anniversary Awards

2013 DAC 50th Anniversary

This is the 50th anniversary of the Design Automation Conference, and David Blaauw, Igor Markov, and Dennis Sylvester have been recognized with special awards for their contributions to the conference. Among the awards is the DAC Top 10 Cited Author award, given to David Blaauw, for being a top 10 cited author in the past 50 years. [Full Story]

Researchers Funded to Develop a Leap Forward in Processor Architectures


A team of researchers led by Trevor Mudge, Bredt Family Professor of Engineering and Director of the ARM Research Center at Michigan, has been funded for research and development of hardware and software techniques that directly support and make practical a new generation of energy efficient, high performance multi-layer processor systems for use in embedded computing systems. [Full Story]

Better Eyes for Flying Robots

Dongsuk Jeon

Dongsuk Jeon, a graduate student working with Zhengya Zhang and IEEE Fellows David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, outlined an approach to drastically lower the power of the very first stage of any vision system, the feature extractor. That system uses an algorithm to draw out potentially important features like circles and squares from an overall image. [Full Story]

CPU, Heal Thyself

CPU Heal Thyself

Prof. David Blaauw writes about his work on a fault-monitoring microprocessor design can save power or allow overclocking. [Full Story]

David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester Named Top Authors by ISSCC

60th ISSCC Anniersary

Prof. David Blaauw and Prof. Dennis Sylvester have been named two of the top 16 contributing authors in the last 60 years to the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), which is the flagship conference of the Solid-State Circuits Society. [Full Story]

Mighty Mobile: A Supercomputer in Your Pocket

Mighty Mobile: A Supercomputer in Your Pocket

The College of Engineering has highlighted work in the department on technologies under development at Michigan that will continue to enable the mobile computing revolution. See their digital multimedia experience here. [Full Story]

2013 EECS Outstanding Achievement Awards

2013 EECS Outstanding Achievement Award

The EECS Outstanding Achievement Awards are presented annually to faculty members for their outstanding accomplishments in teaching, research, and service. The recipients of the 2013 EECS Outstanding Achievement Award are David Blaauw, Wei Lu, and Z. Morley Mao. [Full Story]

2012 ICCAD Ten Year Retrospective Most Influential Paper Award

ICCAD first place

For their ground-breaking research in the area of voltage scaling processors, this award went to Professors David Blaauw, Trevor Mudge, and alumni Dr. Steven Martin and Dr. Krisztian Flautner. Their 2002 paper was judged to be the most influential on research and industrial practice in computer-aided design of integrated circuits over the past ten years. [Full Story]

Ambiq Micro and Cyclos Semiconductor, 2 EECS startups, join the EE Times 60 Emerging Startups list

Silicon 60

Ambiq Micro, specializing in intelligent energy-efficient ICs, was founded in 2010 by Profs. Blaauw, Sylvester, and EE alumnus Dr. Hanson. Cyclos Semiconductor, specializing in resonant clock-mesh technology for IC design, was co-founded in 2004 by Prof. Papaefthymiou. [more about Ambiq Micro] [more about Cyclos Semiconductor] [Full Story]

Prof. David Blaauw Elected Fellow of the IEEE

David Blaauw

Prof. David Blaauw has been named an IEEE Fellow, Class of 2012, for contributions to adaptive and low power circuit design. [Full Story]

Powering breakthrough technologies

A penny laying flat with a tiny device on it

The technology behind successful startup company Ambiq Micro (2010) has its roots in ECE at Michigan, where faculty and students continue to lead the way in mm-scale computing. [Full Story]

Making smart dust a reality


EECS faculty are embarking on a new NSF funded project to make millimeter-scale computing (aka smart dust) a widespread reality through the integration of circuits, sensors, and software on mm-scale platforms. [Full Story]

Three EECS Teams are Winners in 2011 DAC/ISSCC Student Design Contest

Three EECS Teams are Winners in 2011 DAC/ISSCC Student Design Contest

The projects focus on near-threshold 3D computing, a flexible wireless receiver for multiple communication standards, and a clock-harvesting receiver for wireless sensor nodes. [Full Story]

Toward computers that fit on a pen tip: New technologies usher in the millimeter-scale computing era

New technologies usher in the millimeter-scale computing era

An implantable eye pressure monitor that is a complete millimeter-scale system, and a compact radio for wireless sensor networks are key advancements to millimeter-scale computing. [Full Story]

Paving the way for ubiquitous computing

Blaauw, Sylvester, and Hanson

The work of Profs. Blaauw, Sylvester, and their former student and colleague Dr. Scott Hanson (PhD EE) in low-power computing led to the recent and flourishing start-up company, Ambiq Micro. The problem they are solving: ubiquitous computing – by concentrating on saving power during sleep cycles. [Full Story]

Green Computing: Higher Energy Efficiency from Silicon to the Cloud

A penny laying flat with a tiny device on it

For decades, researchers and industry have been focused on increasing computing performance by increasing transistor density and shrinking the size of computing devices. But with the continued scaling of computing systems to sizes only theorized a decade ago, combined with the prevalence of mobile devices, social networking, cloud computing, and the cost of powering huge data centers, the computing paradigm has changed. Energy efficiency is now a primary consideration at all levels of computing. [Full Story]

Ambiq Micro Wins Global Business Plan Competition

Penny with sensor on it

Ambiq Micro, the startup founded by Profs. Sylvester, Blaauw, and Dr. Scott Hanson, received seed funding of $250K from DFJ and Cisco in their first place finish in the Global Business Plan Competition. They are expected to “lead the way to ubiquitous computing with next generation energy-efficient microcontrollers.” [Full Story]

Ambiq Micro: Taking a Startup to the Next Level

Close up of a penny with a tiny device on it

Ambiq Micro, founded by EE alumnus Scott Hanson, and Professors David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester, has been attracting the attention of potential investors at recent business plan competitions. [Full Story]

Featured Video: Phoenix 2 Chip

Slide of penny chip

This video describes the Phoenix 2 chip, a solar-powered, commercial-grade microprocessor that is the smallest chip that can harvest energy from its surroundings, and the company spawned by the research, Ambiq Micro. [Full Story]  

EECS Technology Wins Top Prizes in Michigan Business Challenge


Scott Hanson (PhD EE 2009) presents a prototype microprocessor from the startup Ambiq Micro, which he co-founded with Profs. Blaauw and Sylvester. 2nd place went to Enertia. [Full Story]

Smallest solar-powered sensor system could run forever

An angled photo of a penny with a tiny device on it

A 9-cubic millimeter solar-powered sensor system is the smallest that can harvest energy from its surroundings to operate nearly perpetually. [Full Story]

EECS Professors To Pursue Research Under Grants From Google

Old Google G

Google has announced its first-ever round of Google Focused Research Awards, and four EECS professors have received two grants for their research into energy-efficient computing. [Full Story]  

Profs. Blaauw and Sylvester at Celebrate Innovation, October 13

Blaauw and Sylvester

They presented their very-low-power microprocessor, the size of about 8 grains of salt including the battery and four solar cells. The technology is spawning a new startup company. [Full Story]

EECS Researchers Receive Best Paper Award at ISLPED


EECS Professors David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester, along with two EECS graduate students and a team of researchers at IBM’s T.J. Watson Reserch Center, have received the Best Paper Award at the ISLPED. [Full Story]  

EECS Researchers Awarded NSF Research Grant to Study Near-Threshold Computing


EECS Professors David Blaauw, Trevor Mudge, and Dennis Sylvester have received an NSF research grant to study near-threshold computing, a potential solution to the “energy crisis” faced by the semiconductor industry. [Full Story]

2009 EECS and CoE Faculty Awards

Certificate for award

EECS Outstanding Achievement Awards: Jason Flinn, Jay Guo, Sandeep Pradhan
CoE Awards: Please click on the link – Congratulations to all! 

Ultra Low-power Chip Named A Key Innovation for 2008 by MIT Technology Review

Ultra Low-power Chip

Professors David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester’s Phoenix Processor uses 90 percent less energy than the most efficient chip on the market today.
MIT Technology Review: The Year in Computing
A Picowatt Processor: A low-power chip could be used for implantable medical sensors 

2008 Richard Newton GSRC Industrial Impact Award

2008 Richard Newton GSRC Industrial Impact Award

Professors Todd Austin and David Blaauw received the 2008 Richard Newton Gigascale Systems Research Award for their role in the development of Razor technology. [Full Story]  

Phoenix microchip sets low-power record with extreme sleep mode

Blaauw and Sylvester headshots

A low-power microchip called the Phoenix Processor, developed by Profs. David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester, along with doctoral students Scott Hanson and Mingoo Seok, uses significantly less power than comparable chips now on the market. It is intended for use in cutting-edge sensor-based devices such as medical implants, environment monitors and surveillance equipment. [Read more…] [Technology Review article]  

2007-08 EECS Outstanding Achievement Awards, and College of Engineering Awards Announced

EECS Award Winners:
Valeria Bertacco, Igor Markov, Jasprit Singh
CoE Award Winners:
David Blaauw, John Hayes, H.J. Jagadish, Jignesh Patel 

ACAL Receives Microprocessor Report Analysts Choice Award

2008 Richard Newton GSRC Industrial Impact Award

The Advanced Computer Architecture Laboratory (ACAL) received a 2006 MPR Analysts’ Choice Award in the newly created category, Innovation. ACAL was named with industrial partner ARM, Ltd. for introducing and implementing the technology called Razor, which MPR believes is relevant to power consumption and the concept of future computing in general.
[read more] 

David Blaauw Selected to Receive 2005 Henry Russel Award

Associate Professor David Blaauw has been selected to receive the University of Michigan’s 2005 Henry Russel Award. The Russel Award is a “special honor conferred on junior faculty members in recognition of distinguished scholarship and conspicuous ability as a teacher.” Professor Blaauw will receive the award at the Henry Russel Lecture on March 8th, 2005. He will be honored again at the a banquet to be held in December 2005.


  • Best Paper NominationBest Paper Nomination, “Energy Efficent Near-threshold Chip Multi-processing,” ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Low-Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED), August 2007
  • Best Paper NominationBest Paper Nomination, “Self-timed Regulators for High-speed and Low-power Interconnect,” ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design (ISQED), March 2007
  • Best Paper NominationBest Paper Nomination, “Parametric Yield Estimation Considering Leakage Variability,” ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC), June 2004
  • Best Paper AwardBest Paper Award, “Razor: A Low-Power Pipeline Based on Circuit-Level Timing Speculation,” ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO), November 2003
  • Best Regular Paper AwardBest Regular Paper Award, “Noise Analysis Methodology for Partially Depleted SOI Circuits,” IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC), September 2003
  • IBM Faculty AwardIBM Faculty Award, IBM Center for Advanced Studies, June 2003
  • Best Paper AwardBest Paper Award, “Statistical Delay Computation Considering Spatial Correlations,” ACM/IEEE Asia-Pacific Design Automation Conference (ASP-DAC), January 2003
  • IBM Faculty AwardIBM Faculty Award, IBM Center for Advanced Studies, June 2002
  • Best Paper NominationBest Paper Nomination, “Pre-route Noise Estimation in Deep Submicron Integrated Circuits,” ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design (ISQED), March 2002
  • Best Paper NominationBest Paper Nomination, “Driver Modeling and Alignment for Worst-Case Delay Noise,” ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC), June 2001
  • Best Paper AwardBest Paper Award, “On-Chip Inductance Modeling and Analysis,” ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC), June 2000