Yazicigil’s WISE-Circuits Lab Goes the Distance at “Chip Olympics”

Professor Rabia Yazicigil and Ph.D. student Qijun (Mandy) Liu, holding the IEEE ISSCC Solid-State Circuits Predoctoral Achievement Award.

by A.J. Kleber

In hardware and microelectronics circles, the International Solid-State Circuits Conference is the most competitive game in town, nicknamed the “Chip Olympics.” In those terms, it could be said that Professor Rabia Yazicigil and her students brought home a pile of medals.

Having a paper accepted at ISSCC 2023 was, all on its own, a significant achievement for the lab. First-authored by Ph.D. student Arslan Riaz, the paper in question described a custom-designed chip using the latest iteration of the code-agnostic GRAND algorithm in concert with hardware adjustments designed for energy efficiency, all aimed at improving the future of high-traffic wireless communications. In addition to the standard presentation, the paper was selected for a demo session, performed by Riaz.

Professor Yazicigil was tapped to deliver two talks for special conference events, further bolstering her status as a rising star in her field. Her tutorial, which followed the format of a live Q&A based on a 75-minute pre-recorded talk, covered security issues located in the physical layer of advanced wireless systems, an increasing target of malicious attacks, and outlined current research directions and challenges to the effort to shore up defenses. She also delivered a lecture titled “The Basics of Low Noise Amplifiers” at the ISSCC Circuits Insights event, live streamed to thousands of students around the globe. She also co-organized the Women in Circuits event for the conference.

The student members of Yazicigil’s WISE-Circuits Lab made their own contributions; in addition to Arslan Riaz’s demo session and first-authorship of the presented paper, there were several awards given to lab members. Dilara Caygara was granted an ISSCC Student Travel Award, while fellow Ph.D. students Zeynep Ece Kizilates and Arman Tan received Travel Awards and coveted seats to the Circuits Insights event (which was limited to 50 in-person student attendees, in addition to its global virtual audience).

The IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (IEEE SSCS), which is the flagship society for the microelectronics field, selected Ph.D. student Qijun (“Mandy”) Liu for their highest student honor: the Solid-State Circuits Predoctoral Achievement Award. This award recognizes exceptional achievements in academics, publications, and promise, among students whose program of study falls within the parameters of the society’s charter. Liu certainly fits the bill; her work designing hybrid bio-electronic systems, reflected in a strong record of publications in top journals and conferences, has already received significant recognition in the form of awards and sponsorships. “I am impressed by Mandy’s ability to cross boundaries for system-level innovation by collaborating with researchers from diverse fields and being a great team player,” enthused Professor Yazicigil. “Her versatility at moving between research domains, from bio-electronics to security, illustrates her interdisciplinary thinking.”

In addition to her award, Liu gave a presentation and live hardware demonstration at the IEEE ISSCC Student Research Preview event, showcasing a collaborative project between Yazicigil’s lab and Professor Douglas Densmore’s: a hybrid bio-electronic environmental monitoring system.

Since joining the BU ECE faculty in 2018, Professor Rabia Yazicigil has made significant contributions to the fields of microelectronics and hardware design, producing cutting-edge work in such varied areas as medical diagnostics, next-generation wireless communications, and hybrid bio-electronic sensors. She was recently elevated to Senior Member of IEEE, and has been recognized for her outstanding faculty service in the department, in addition to her research prowess.