Crowdsourcing the Complexities of Electronic Design Automation

Researchers develop an online game that may one day help chipmakers improve their designs

3 min read

30 July 2009—Electronic design automation (EDA) is full of large, intricate problems. Figuring out the best way to arrange transistors on a chip, for example, becomes exponentially more complex as the number of transistors increases. Computer scientists have made great strides in developing algorithms that can solve many of these problems, but a team of researchers at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, believes that the industry could benefit from a different resource: human intuition.

“These kinds of problems are difficult for computers to solve. We started by thinking, ‘How can humans help electronic design automation?’ ” says Valeria Bertacco, an associate professor in computer science and engineering. She and Andrew DeOrio, a doctoral student, have developed an online game that challenges players to take on a type of problem common in design automation. They presented their idea of human-assisted problem solving today at the Design Automation Conference, in San Francisco.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.


The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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