Computer science and engineering graduate wins award for doctoral dissertation


By Sarah Small

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kaisheng Ma, a 2018 Penn State alumnus of the doctoral computer science and engineering program, recently received the European Design and Automation Association's (EDAA) Ph.D. Outstanding Dissertation Award.

The award is given “in recognition of the importance of university research to the advancement of design automation and test, and to encourage young researchers to work in the field,” according to the EDAA’s website. There are four categories for outstanding Ph.D. dissertations: new directions in software design and optimization for embedded, cyber-physical and secure systems; new directions in system-on-chip platforms co-design, novel emerging architectures and system-level management; new directions in logic, physical design and computer-aided design for analog/mixed-signal, nano-scale and emerging technologies; and new directions in safety, reliability and security-aware hardware design, validation and test for systems and circuits. Ma received the Outstanding Dissertation Award in the first category.

While at Penn State, Ma was co-advised by Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, the A. Robert Noll Chair and Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Jack Sampson, assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

“I am fortunate to have worked with Kaisheng Ma,” Narayanan said. “This award is very well deserved for the passion in his work. I am proud of not only Kaisheng but all the students with whom I have interacted. I hope Kaisheng will continue to inspire the next generation in his own role as a faculty member at a premier institution.”

Ma’s dissertation, “Self-powered Internet-of-Things Nonvolatile Processor and System Exploration and Optimization,” acknowledges that “the shift from battery-powered systems to self-powered systems promises to fuel the next revolution in the Internet of Things (IoT)” while also recognizing the need to “develop specialized IoT architectures and systems that are tolerant to this power variation.” In the dissertation, Ma discusses his work focusing on “design space of different architectures, different input power sources and policies for maximizing forward progress.” He also discusses various methods and techniques to “dynamically adjust the microarchitecture to achieve the maximum forward progress.” Ma’s work, including his dissertation, aims to bring about the realization of a self-powered IoT.

Currently, Ma is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University in China. In the past five years, Ma has published 35 papers. He had 658 google citations as of June 2019, and he has several patents in the United States.

Ma’s awards include a 2015 HPCA Best Paper Award, a 2016 IEEE MICRO Top Picks and a 2017 ASP-DAC Best Paper Award. While at Penn State, Ma received the 2016 Penn State Computer Science and Engineering Department Best Graduate Research Award from a pool of about 170 doctoral students. He also was honored by being selected to be featured on the cover of the National Science Foundation’s ASSIST Engineering Research Center Newsletter in 2016.


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Megan Lakatos

Kaisheng Ma

Kaisheng Ma IMAGE: XING HU



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

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