Thursday, July 26, 2007


Indian-American developing 'brains' for space missions
Thursday, 26 July , 2007, 13:26

Washington: Sandeep Shukla, an Indian American researcher on embedded computers said to be the "brain" behind many everyday mechanisms, is now developing embedded software code generation for space and aviation missions.

Embedded computers are used in wireless devices, cars, climate control systems, traffic signals, washing machines, as well as complex systems including space mission controls, avionics and weapons systems.

"The makers of the Airbus 380 claim to have all control software automatically generated," Shukla was cited as saying by EurekAlert, an online news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

"We should develop similar technology to increase productivity and safety of embedded software-based space and air-borne systems," he said.

Another of his interests is nano-scale computer chips. "Because nano-scale devices are so small and the manufacturing process is affected by so much variation and inaccuracy, a significant percentage of computer chip devices manufactured at the nano-scale are defective," he said.

Shukla is attempting to create novel tools and techniques to help solve these problems. He co-edited a book on the topic in 2004.

His work in designing, analysing and predicting the performance of electronic systems — particularly embedded computers — has drawn acclaim from the National Academies, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the White House.

The most recent honour for Shukla, an associate professor in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering's Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is an invitation from the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to participate in the 19th annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, November 8-10, 2007 in Irvine, California.

Shukla, who came to Virginia Tech in 2002, is among a group of about 100 scientists under the age of 45 selected by the NAS in recognition of their research achievements and honours.

Since the symposium began in 1989, more than 100 former participants have been elected to the academy and eight have received Nobel Prizes. Signed into being by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research.

In 2005, Shukla was invited by the National Academy of Engineering to attend the Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, an honour that parallels the NAS event.

In 2004 he was invited to the White House to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and in 2003 he received a NSF Faculty Early Career Development Programme (CAREER) Award, both among the nation's highest honours accorded to researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Shukla and colleagues at the University of Utah have received NSF funding for research on globally asynchronous and locally synchronous (GALS) computer chip design. Shukla also co-founded an international workshop on GALS and the third in the series was held in Nice, France in May.

As a result of his research, Shukla has published more than 100 journal and conference papers and book chapters, and has co-authored or co-edited three books. He is an associate editor of two Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) journals and has founded a new international journal on embedded software to be published by Hindwai Publishers.

Shukla received his master's degree and Ph D in computer science from the State University of New York at Albany and his bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering from Jadavpur University in India.

He began studying embedded computers while working as an engineer with Verizon and, later, Intel. Before coming to Virginia Tech, he was a member of the research faculty of the Centre for Embedded Computer Systems at the University of California at Irvine.


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