Alhawari receives NSF CAREER award to improve power management for systems-on-chip

Mohammad Alhawari in the iChip research lab

In a world where the increase in connectivity is commensurate to the development of small and complex electronic devices, semiconductors and systems-on-chip (SoC) play an integral role in the functionality of intelligent technologies. Edge computing and the Internet-of-Things require high-performing and multifunctional SoCs, but challenges exist with the design and integration of power management units, the mainstream circuits that manage the SoC power flow.

Research from Mohammad Alhawari, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Wayne State University, will explore new design techniques that lead to more efficient power management units. His project, “Power Management Solutions for Systems-on-Chip,” merited a five-year, $517,887 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, the organization’s most prestigious accolade for up-and-coming researchers.

“The broad goal of this proposal is to pursue new research directions in mixed-signal design at modeling, converter architecture and circuit levels that pave the way for ground-breaking innovations in modeling and circuit implementation,” said Alhawari, who leads Wayne State’s iChip research lab.

Among the new design elements are an accurate and fast behavioral model for switched-capacitor circuits; improved switched-capacitor circuits that can achieve both high power and area efficiency; and control circuits that can enhance power efficiency.

NSF CAREER awards emphasize the integration of research and education to build a firm foundation of leadership. In addition to bolstering the electrical and computer engineering curriculum related to mixed-signal circuit design, Alhawari intends to develop a summer course for high school students through collaboration with Wayne State’s K-12 Educational Outreach Office.

Alhawari joined the Wayne State faculty in 2018. After earning his Ph.D. in 2016 from Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, he remained at the Khalifa Semiconductor Research Center as a post-doctoral research fellow focusing on low-power designs for energy-harvesting applications. His work has appeared in such publications as IEEE Journal Solid-State Circuits and IEEE Transaction of Circuits and Systems, and he has presented at the International Solid State Circuit Conference and the International Symposium of Circuits and Systems. Alhawari has one book titled Energy Harvesting for Self-Powered Wearable Devices, co-authored three book chapters, and has been issued four patents with another two pending.

The grant number for this NSF award is 2236745.


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