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Feb. 26: Carnegie Mellon's Shawn Blanton Named To Head Innovative Center For Silicon System Implementation


Chriss Swaney                       

Carnegie Mellon's Shawn Blanton Named To Head
Innovative Center For Silicon System Implementation

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University's Ronald D. (Shawn) Blanton has been named to head the prestigious Center For Silicon System Implementation (CSSI). His appointment was effective Feb. 1.

blanton"It is both an honor and a privilege to be named head of the CSSI as we continue to develop leading-edge chip design for the competitive semiconductor industry," said Blanton, a professor in the university's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department since 1995. He succeeds Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Larry Pileggi, who served as CSSI director since 2000. 

Pradeep K. Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering, praised Blanton for his excellent research reputation and his commitment and dedication to mentoring underrepresented students in engineering. "Shawn has this wonderful knack for sharing his research and innovative teaching methods with students and peers, and this new post will augment his outstanding work," Khosla said.

Blanton has taken the reins of a center that focuses its attention on all aspects of chip design from system-level architecture to the physics and modeling of the complexities found in semiconductor manufacturing. Founded in 2000, the CSSI evolved from the Center for Electronic Design Automation that was established more than 25 years ago with a grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC). The CSSI's broader research is currently funded through the Focus Center Research Program, the SRC, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation and a cache of industry supporters.

Ed Schlesinger, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said he looks forward to working with Blanton as he continues to expand the CSSI's scope.

In addition to his research accolades, Blanton is an active advocate for bolstering science and engineering education. In 2006, Blanton won the Emerald Award for outstanding leadership in recruiting and mentoring minorities for advanced degrees in science and technology. The Emerald Awards, sponsored by Science Spectrum Magazine, are the premier awards for African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans working in the research sciences.

"We need to entice more pre-college and college students to consider pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering and the sciences," Blanton said.

Blanton earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Calvin College in 1987 and a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1989. He was awarded a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering in 1995 from the University of Michigan.