Professor Chris Kim receives Intel’s 2023 Outstanding Researcher Award

Distinguished McKnight University Professor Chris Kim is a recipient of Intel’s 2023 Outstanding Researcher Award. The award recognizes his collaboration with Intel on research titled, “Demonstration of a Domain Specific Accelerator Chip with Coupled Oscillator Ising Solver Cores.”

Kim and the students on his research team were part of Intel's Transformative Hardware for AI (THwAI) center where the focus was on building a new computing chip that can solve hard optimization problems with unprecedented speed and energy-efficiency. In particular, the award recognizes a unique chip architecture from Kim's group that allows a larger number of oscillators to be coupled in a highly scalable manner that has been the key to finding high quality solutions for probabilistic computing. 

Chris Kim wearing glasses with dark frames and a white shirt with dark stripes smiling into camera

At the University of Minnesota, Kim’s research is focused on the development of designs for energy-efficient, robust, and intelligent integrated circuits and systems. He leads the Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Research Group at the University that works on developing core circuit technologies for enabling smart and energy-efficient integrated systems. They target applications ranging from quantum-inspired computing, cryogenic computing, machine learning and neuromorphic computing, hardware security, internet-of-things, medical devices, and sensor networks to radiation hardened chips. Over the years, the group has transferred several key technologies to the semiconductor industry, including the silicon odometer circuit for measuring circuit wear out, radiation monitoring circuits, and SPICE models for magnetic tunnel junctions.

Intel recognized 15 academic researchers with the 2023 Outstanding Researcher Awards. Factors such as fundamental insights, industrial relevance, technical difficulty, communications, and potential student hiring associated with a candidate's research program are taken in consideration when making the award decision.