Christopher Torng

Ph.D. Candidate

I am applying for faculty positions in electrical engineering and computer science for the 2018-2019 hiring season.

Application Materials: - Research - Teaching - CV -

Computer Systems Laboratory
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Cornell University

office: 471-B Rhodes Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853
email: clt67 at cornell edu

I am a final-year PhD student in electrical and computer engineering working under Professor Christopher Batten at Cornell University. I am a computer architect, but my research approach emphasizes cross-stack co-design across software, architecture, and VLSI to unify emerging applications with emerging technologies.

Throughout my PhD, I have been involved with six research test chips that support my research, and I was the project lead or university student lead for three of the chips including BRGTC2 (2018), Celerity (2017), and BRGTC1 (2016). My activities have resulted in a selection as a Rising Star in Computer Architecture (2018) by Georgia Tech and an IEEE MICRO Top Pick from Hot Chips (2018).

In the future, I plan to co-design across software, architecture, and VLSI for emerging applications targeting intelligence on the edge including smart healthcare and biomedical devices, especially in the context of emerging technologies like energy harvesting and biodegradable computing. I am also interested in designing hardware that is both high performance and high energy efficiency while also being easy to build (e.g., tiled together like Lego blocks).

Research Projects

Efficient Task-Based Parallel Runtimes

Task-based parallel runtimes underpin the parallelization of frameworks for machine learning, graph analytics, and other domains. State-of-the-art graph analytics frameworks like GraphIt and Ligra are designed on top of these runtimes to enable efficient task distribution using dynamic work-stealing algorithms. A cross-stack research approach can expose runtime-level information to hardware to influence both architecture-level and VLSI-level decisions to improve performance and energy efficiency of the runtime (ISCA'16). However, walls of abstraction often make it challenging to pass information through layers of the computing stack. I worked on a systematic approach to convey the abstraction of a "task" from the runtime directly to the underlying hardware (MICRO'17). I designed and fabricated BRGTC2, a 6.7M-transistor chip in TSMC 28nm, to collect performance, area, and energy numbers in an advanced technology node to support future research projects based on hardware acceleration for task-based parallel runtimes (RISCV'18).

BRGTC2 (2018)

Integrated Voltage Regulation

Voltage regulators are responsible for efficiently converting one voltage level into another (e.g., board-level to chip-level). Recent technology trends are making it feasible to replace discrete voltage regulators with integrated voltage regulators, which can significantly reduce system cost by eliminating expensive board-level components. The enabling trends include energy storage elements with better energy densities as well as faster on-chip switches with lower parasitic losses. However, integrated voltage regulators are very large (e.g., similar area as the core it supplies). Together with my colleagues in the circuits field, I applied a cross-stack research approach to explore a novel technique that dynamically shares capacitance across multiple loads for a 40% reduction in regulator area while still enabling fine-grain DVFS (MICRO'14). I also contributed to the fabrication of a switched-capacitor-based prototype in 65nm CMOS resulting in a journal publication in a top-tier circuits venue (TCASI'18).

DCS (2014)

Rapid ASIC Design

Rising SoC design costs have created a formidable barrier to hardware design when using traditional design tools and methodologies. It is exceedingly difficult for small teams with a limited workforce to build meaningfully complex chips for business ventures (e.g., chip-based startups in machine learning), in academia (i.e., research groups), and even for government goals (e.g., U.S. Department of Defense). I have been involved in a range of efforts to reduce the costs and challenges of ASIC design for small teams based on productive toolflows and open-source hardware. I was the Cornell University student lead on the Celerity Open-Source 511-Core RISC-V Tiered Accelerator Fabric resulting in top-tier publications in chip-design venues (HOTCHIPS'17), architecture venues (IEEE-MICRO'18), and various workshops. I was also the project lead for BRGTC1 and BRGTC2, which are silicon prototypes in IBM 130nm and TSMC 28nm designed and implemented using a new open-source Python-based hardware modeling framework called PyMTL developed by my research group. Finally, I contributed to an effort at NVIDIA Research on a modular digital VLSI flow for high-productivity SoC design based on high-level synthesis tools (DAC'18).

Celerity (2017)


Top-tier architecture venues in this list


Top-tier chip / design automation venues in this list

HotChips, DAC

Top-tier circuits venues in this list


Additional Talks and Research Presentations


Media Coverage

Test Chips and Prototyping

Teaching Experience

Industry Experience

Professional Activities

My Open-Source Projects

Other Light Contributions to Open-Source Projects

Fun Activities