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Todd Austin Named S. Jack Hu Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Prof. Austin is a creative, outside-the-box thinker who has produced a body of work that has had extraordinary impact in the area of computer architecture.

Prof. Austin's professorship lecture

Prof. Todd Austin has been named the S. Jack Hu Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the computer architecture research, education and outreach, and leadership. This appointment was celebrated at a ceremony which took place on February 27, 2020.

At the ceremony, Austin was introduced by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Lynn A. Conway Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Michael Wellman. Austin’s lecture was entitled, “Achieving Privacy in an Increasingly Connected World.”

In 1995, while still a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, Austin created SimpleScalar, a set of tools that model a virtual computer system for purposes of simulating, testing, and debugging computer designs. SimpleScalar’s utility quickly became obvious and it grew to become a standard tool used by academics and in industry. The papers that Austin has coauthored about SimpleScalar are widely cited, with over 6,500 references to date.

Austin was also one of the earliest and strongest proponents of runtime verification, which is the concept of lessening verification cost by adding online correction for faults and bugs that cannot be handled at design time. His work on the DIVA fault tolerant pipeline is a widely cited work in computer architecture, with over 550 references to date. His later work on Razor, which is a technique to tolerate circuit timing faults, has received much attention by industry and runtime verification is today a prominent research area in computer architecture.

In recognition of this early work, Austin received the prestigious ACM Maurice Wilkes Award in 2007 for “innovative contributions in Computer Architecture including the SimpleScalar Toolkit and the DIVA and Razor architectures.” In 2019, Austin also received the IEEE/ACM MICRO Test of Time Award, awarded each year to an influential MICRO paper whose impact is still felt 20 years after its initial publication, for his paper on DIVA.

In 2013, Austin became the director of a $28 million five-year consortium known as the Center for Future Architectures Research,  or C-FAR. Encompassing efforts at 15 research institutions, C-FAR led research into architectures down to the transistor level that would power the designs of post-Moore’s Law processors.

Post C-FAR, Austin has focused his attention on processor security. In a new project called Morpheus, Austin has proposed a “moving target” design in which the chip blocks potential attacks by encrypting and randomly reshuffling key bits of its own code and data 20 times per second—thousands of times faster than even the fastest automated attack techniques.

Austin has always had a strong commitment to sharing his passion for computing with others. Together with Prof. Valeria Bertacco, he has been working  to help Addis Ababa University—the national university of Ethiopia—to develop IT programs, including a graduate program to train professors. 

Austin is currently working overtime at Agita Labs, his new startup based in Ann Arbor, which is focused on developing next-generation privacy-enhanced computing architectures that will facilitate the creation of new data markets while protecting data IP rights and respecting personal information.

Austin has twice received the Richard Newton Gigascale Systems Research Center Industrial Impact Award and is a recipient of the U-M Henry Russel Award and a number of research and teaching awards from the College of Engineering. Early in his career, he received an NSF CAREER Award and was selected as a Sloan Fellow. He is a Fellow of IEEE.

About S. Jack Hu

Dr. S. Jack Hu had a long, distinguished career at the University of Michigan. He began as a graduate student in January 1985 and received his Master’s and PhD degrees from Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and 1990. After four years as a research faculty member, he joined the ME faculty as an assistant professor in 1995. He was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, a Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering, and the J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing. Hu has authored or co-authored nearly 200 peer-reviewed journal articles related to manufacturing systems, assembly, and engineering statistics. He holds six patents and worked with several industry partners to enhance manufacturing quality and productivity.

Hu served in various leadership roles at Michigan, including as Executive Director of Interdisciplinary and Professional Engineering (now ISD), Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering, and was U-M Vice President for Research from 2014 to 2019.

Hu is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), and the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP). He is the recipient of the ASME William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award, the SME Gold Medal, and several best paper awards.

Hu joined the University of Georgia (UGA) as the UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost on July 1, 2019. As provost, he serves as the chief academic officer and oversees instruction, research, faculty affairs, public service and outreach, and information technology.

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Chip Design & Architectures; Cybersecurity; Security and Privacy