Bryant Will Receive ACM/IEEE Newton Award

Byron SpiceWednesday, May 19, 2010

Randal E. Bryant, University Professor of Computer Science and dean of the School of Computer Science, will receive the 2010 ACM/IEEE A.R. Newton Award in recognition of his revolutionary use of mathematical techniques to prove that hardware and software designs function as intended.

The award from the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Design Automation (SIGDA) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering will be presented at the 2010 Design Automation Conference June 4-8, in San Diego, CA.

The Newton Award honors outstanding technical contributions in electronic design automation and is based on the impact of that contribution over a significant period. Bryant developed efficient algorithms based on Reduced Ordered Binary Decision Diagrams (ROBDDs) to manipulate the logic functions that form the basis of computer designs. These innovations formed the basis of formal verification techniques that could be used to eliminate all flaws from large-scale automated circuit designs for the first time.

Bryant demonstrated that OBDDs enable circuits to be simulated symbolically, covering all possible behaviors in a single execution. His technology thus became a catalyst in the growth of formal verification, which has significantly improved the quality of hardware and software design. OBDDs are now widely used for circuit verification, synthesis, and testing, as well as in such diverse areas as artificial intelligence planning and compiler optimization. Formal verification based on Bryant's OBDDs is a standard practice of all major electronic design automation hardware engineers and integrated device manufacturers.

His 1986 paper, "Graph-Based Algorithms for Boolean Function Manipulation," until recently was the single most cited paper in computer science, as measured by Citeseer, and currently ranks 6th.

The A.R. Newton Technical Impact Award in electronic Design Automation honors A. Richard Newton, a luminary in the design automation area in academia and industry. He was a faculty contributor and advisor to many of the leaders in the field as well as a company founder, and dean of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who died in 2007.

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