March 28, 2005

Haibo Wang Faculty member wins prestigious NSF award

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Haibo Wang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has won a $400,000 award from the National Science Foundation's CAREER Program, designed to foster professional development in young scholars and teachers deemed most likely to become this century's academic leaders.

The science foundation selects award winners each year based on applications showing how the proposed work would provide a foundation for a lifetime of integrated research and teaching.

"With this money, I will be able to buy the equipment I need and support additional graduate students, which means the research can be done more quickly and efficiently," Wang said.

Wang's research focuses on computer chips that can hold thousands and even hundreds of thousands of electronic components. The NSF grant will allow him to work on developing mixed-signal chips (those that can read both digital and analog signals) that can figure out on their own if they are damaged and then repair themselves.

"We are only at the beginning stage," Wang said. "This technology is still in its infancy, and there are other factors that will affect the length of time it takes to develop this kind of chip.

"For example, we will be using some commercial hardware that we will have to adapt to make it do what we need it to do. That improvement will be like a byproduct of the research."

A self-repairing chip would allow the development of products that could function in places where routine maintenance is difficult.

"It would be suitable for use in space, giving satellites a longer lifetime, or on battlefields or in robots, Wang said.

Wang joined the SIUC College of Engineering faculty in 2002 after completing doctoral work at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He teaches design of microprocessor-based systems, programmable ASICS (application-specific integrated circuits) and mixed-signal VLSI (very large-scale integration).

A native of the People's Republic of China, Wang earned his bachelor's degree in 1992 at Tsinghua University and his master's in 1997 at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Two members of SIUC's chemistry and biochemistry faculty, assistant professors Boyd Goodson and Yong Gao, received NSF CAREER Program awards last year.

Leading in research, creative and scholarly activities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.