Prof. David Z. Pan of Texas ECE and his research group, in collaboration with Nvidia Research, won the Best Paper Award at the 2019 Design Automation Conference (DAC) held in Las Vegas in early June. The team consisted of current PhD students, Texas ECE alumni, and Nvidia researchers Yibo Lin, Shounak Dhar, Wuxi Li, Haoxing Ren, and Brucek Khailany, as well as Prof. Pan. The team won for their paper "DREAMPlace: Deep Learning Toolkit-Enabled GPU Acceleration for Modern VLSI Placement." The Design Automation Conference is recognized as the premier conference for design and automation of electronic systems. It was the sole Best Paper Award this year out of more than 860 submissions. Dr. Pan's group was responsible for two of the five best paper finalists.
DREAMPlace, which stands for “Deep Learning Toolkit-Enabled GPU Acceleration for Modern VLSI Placement”, is a groundbreaking approach to solve the classical VLSI placement problem, by casting the state-of-the-art nonlinear placement into a deep learning training problem. Thus, it can tremendously leverage the recent advancement of deep learning hardware (in particular GPU) and software (e.g., PyTorch and TensorFlow). DREAMPlace is over 30x faster than the previous best academic placer with similar quality of results. Since placement plays a central role in modern VLSI design closure, DREAMPlace is expected to have a major impact on academia and industry. The DREAMPlace source code is released at https://github.com/limbo018/DREAMPlace.
About the Authors
Yibo Lin is a post-doc in Texas ECE under the supervision of Dr. David Z. Pan. He received his PhD from Texas ECE also under Prof. David Z. Pan in May 2018, and his BS from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2013. He will join Peking University, China as a tenure track assistant professor from July 2019.
Shounak Dhar is a PhD candidate in Texas ECE under the supervision of Dr. David Z. Pan. He received his BS from India Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2014. He is expected to graduate in August 2019, and will join Intel.
Wuxi Li is a PhD candidate in Texas ECE under the supervision of Dr. David Z. Pan. He received his BS from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2013. He defended his PhD thesis in May 2019 and will join Xilinx.
Haoxing Ren is currently a Principal Research Scientist at Nvidia Research. He received his PhD degree from Texas ECE under the supervision of Prof. David Z. Pan in 2006.
Brucek Khailany is currently Director of ASIC and VLSI Research at Nvidia Research. He received his PhD from Stanford in 2003.
Dr. David Z. Pan is a Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and holds the Engineering Foundation Endowed Professorship #1.