TORONTO, May 3, 2012 /CNW/ - University of Toronto Engineering Professor
Vaughn Betz of The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical &
Computer Engineering has been named the NSERC/Altera Industrial
Research Chair in Programmable Silicon. The five-year renewable chair
provides support for Professor Betz's research on programmable computer
chips, known as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).
Professor Betz is one of the world's leading researchers in the
architecture of FPGAs and the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software
critical in their use and design. FPGAs are computer chips that have
the unique ability for their circuitry to be reprogrammed to serve
different needs, in essence 'becoming' different chips for different
"FPGAs are an integral part of a huge variety of digital systems, from
the routers forming the backbone of the Internet, through the cellular
data networks that enable smartphones, to cars and appliances. The
development cost of a state-of-the-art single-purpose computer chip is
$100 million and rising. Therefore, all-purpose FPGAs that can serve
many needs with a single chip will be crucial to enabling the next
great hardware system innovation," said Professor Betz.
Professor Betz recently returned to the University of Toronto, where he
completed his PhD, following 11 years as the Senior Director of
Software Engineering at Altera Corporation, a programmable
semiconductor manufacturer. He also co-founded a successful FPGA
software start-up, has an extensive publication record and holds 68
U.S. patents. He is an architect of one of the leading industrial FPGA
device families, and of one of the leading industrial computer-assisted
design (CAD) systems used to map designs into FPGAs.
"Canada is well positioned to be a leader in the field. The new Chair
provides additional support to ensure that we enhance FPGA
architectures to take advantage of the latest developments in computer
architecture and semiconductor manufacturing. The Chair also helps to
develop new software tools that make FPGAs easier for engineers to
use," said Professor Betz.
The Chair will further enable collaboration between Professor Betz and
Altera, which is one of the two leading FPGA companies and has a major
research and development centre located in downtown Toronto. The
research results will enable both better FPGA chips and CAD software,
benefiting not only FPGA companies but also the extremely wide variety
of hardware designers who use FPGAs in their systems.
"On behalf of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, I
congratulate Vaughn Betz on receiving the NSERC/Altera Industrial
Research Chair in Programmable Silicon. He brings extraordinary
expertise, entrepreneurial and industrial experience that will benefit
our students and inspire their research," said Engineering Dean
Cristina Amon. "We are also deeply grateful for the support provided by
NSERC and Altera Corporation," she added.
"Vaughn Betz has made exceptional contributions to the development of
reprogrammable computer chips," said Suzanne Fortier, President of the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
"This is expected to become a crucial technology as its capabilities
are further enhanced. As an Industrial Research Chairholder, Dr. Betz
is addressing significant long-term problems. His research positions
Canada on the leading edge of developments in this field, and the
students who are trained under this program will be in high demand by
many Canadian industries."
SOURCE University of Toronto - Engineering Strategic Communications
For further information:
Communications & Media Relations Strategist
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto