Prof. Bruce Jacob, University of Maryland
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Bruce Jacob

University of Maryland Memory-Systems Research

(currently a Visiting Professor at FORTH (Crete), returning regularly to the States for various academic stuff)

Keystone Professor, Full Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Maryland at College Park
College Park, MD 20742

E-mail: email address
WWW: http://www.ece.umd.edu/~blj/

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Spring 2014: U. Siena, Italy; FORTH, Heraklion, Greece (teaching High-Speed Memory Systems); University of Cyprus
Office Hours: By appointment

Office: 1333 A.V. Williams
Phone: +1 301-405-0432
Fax: +1 301-314-9281




Curriculum Vitae in PDF format (a bit more thorough than this webpage, if a bit out of date)


Brief NSF/IEEE-style bio (for when you need such things)


Longer, More Extensive Bio (PDF) (again, for when you need such things)



Education

Industry Experience

Computational Artifacts

Honors & Awards

Research Interests

University of Maryland Memory-Systems Research

Research Group: Grad Students, 2003 Grad Students, 2006


Recent Invited Talks

Selected Publications

All Publications

All Talks & Presentations


Students: Awards/Honors, Research Topics, and Theses


Past, Present, and Future Classes


Research Statement: Embedded Systems, Memory Systems, and Embedded Memory Systems

Dr. Jacob's research interests are in the areas of embedded systems, memory-system design, circuit integrity, and memory management. The objective of his research is to build hardware/software systems that improve the performance, cost, reliability, real-time behavior (e.g. predictability), and/or power consumption of computer systems relative to existing designs. The techniques he uses include system modeling and simulation, in which one builds a computer program that emulates the behavior of the system under observation, and physical prototyping as well (his group has become quite adept at building experimental chips).

The memory systems projects include the analysis of DRAM architectures for improved memory-system performance, which is one of the first in-depth comparisons of different DRAM technologies. This research looks at both the DRAM architecture level (i.e. DRAM interfaces and protocols) and the DRAM system level (i.e. bus organizations and scheduling of transactions) and aims to reduce the gap between processor and memory performance.

The circuit-integrity projects include studying the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) on digital systems, developing EMI-mitigation technologies, studying thermal effects on digital systems, and looking at system-on-chip issues. These studies include the design and fabrication of real chips and PCBs to observe and measure phenomena and experimentally test models and proposed theories of behavior.

The embedded systems projects include the development of real-time mechanisms at the microarchitecture level and the re-design of a real-time operating system to take advantage of the novel mechanisms. In this work, real-time operating systems are run on top of simulated hardware to find low-power and high-resolution mechanisms in both hardware and software. This work also encompasses dynamic mechanisms for managing memory with real time guarantees and novel interrupt mechanisms that better suit the behavior of out-of-order processors. This work in architectures for real-time processing should speed up real-time systems significantly and allow systems with even moderate processing power to make tight deadline requirements.

External Support

  • Department of Defense. Next-Generation DRAM-System Architectures and Optimizations. 11/2008-present. PI.

  • Sandia National Laboratories. High Performance Memory-Systems Design and Optimization. 6/2008-12/2009. PI.

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology. Integration Methodologies and Full System Verification for Heterogeneous Systems on Chip. 1/2007-1/2008. PI.

  • Office of the Secretary of Defense. Focused Logistics Transformation and Sense & Respond Support. 9/2005-12/2007. Associated Researcher.

  • National Science Foundation. MRI: Development of Energy-Efficient Embedded Systems for Wireless Sensor Networks. 8/2005-7/2008. Co-PI, with Ephremides (PI), Abshire, Barua, Petrov, Qu, Ulukus, and Vishkin.

  • IBM Corporation. SUR Award: DRAM Device Configuration and Performance Scalability. 2/2005. PI.

  • Cray Computer, Inc. High-Bandwidth Controller and System Design. 9/2004-11/2005. PI.

  • Cray Computer, Inc. DDR3 Memory-System Configuration Sensitivity. 4/2004-9/2004. PI.

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology. Embedded Sensor System-on-Chip Microcontroller Core and System Architecture Design. 8/2003-1/2008. PI.

  • Department of Defense. Joint Program for Advanced Electronic Materials. 6/2003-5/2006. Co-PI, with C.H. Lee (PI), N. Goldsman, and C.H. Yang.

  • National Science Foundation. ITR: Parallel Random-Access Model (PRAM)-On-Chip. 9/2003-9/2008. Co-PI, with U. Vishkin (PI), R. Barua, M. Franklin, and G. Qu.

  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Multidisciplinary Research Program. Basic Studies of the Effect of Microwave Pulses on Electronics. 5/2001-4/2006. Co-PI, with Granatstein (PI), Anlage, Antonsen, Baker, Carmel, Goldsman, Iliadis, Melngailis, O'Shea, Ott, Ramahi, and Rodgers.

  • National Science Foundation. Hardware-Software Co-Design of Real-Time Operating Systems and Embedded Microprocessors. 3/2001-3/2005. PI, with D. Stewart (Co-PI).

  • National Science Foundation, CAREER Award. Architecture Issues in DRAM Devices and Systems. 1/2000-1/2004. PI.

  • Compaq Computer Corporation. Evaluation of EV6 with Contemporary DRAM Architectures. 1999-2004. PI.

  • IBM Corporation. The Study of Design Parameters for DDR DRAM and DDRII DRAM. 1999-2003. PI.

  • National Science Foundation. Hardware-Software Co-Design of an Experimental Real-Time Operating System and a Microcontroller Architecture. 9/1998-9/2000. Co-PI, with D. Stewart (PI).

Memory Systems Research

DRAM Systems Research

Embedded Systems Research

Circuit Integrity Research

Research in Memory Management and Virtual Memory

Verilog code for a 16-bit out-of-order core (the RiSC-16)

Attention Students - including information on Scholarly Papers

Microarchitecture Information


Some Books I'm Reading or Have Read Recently (and that have had an impact on me) (since, you know, you asked and all ...)

  • The Bible, Original 1611 King James Version (an example at Amazon)
    I'm amazed at how different early Bibles are from the ones I grew up on ... later King James translations leave out entire books, and some of the wording changes they make, in an effort to modernize phrasing, in fact have changed the meaning in ways that also change the theology. If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will.

  • The Tyndale Pentateuch (1530) (Large: 68MB PDF file)
    Same observations as above ...

  • The Tyndale Old and New Testaments (1526)
    ... most recently, because I liked the Tyndale Pentateuch, I started reading up on him in the liner notes (or see William Tyndale at wikipedia.org). Really amazing ... he translated not just the books of Moses but also much of the Old Testament (before his death), and all of the New Testament as well -- and all from the original languages, as opposed to translating from Latin Vulgate. His phrasing was so good that most of the 1611 King James wording (and even that of modern translations) matches his, verbatim. Sadly, as with Wycliffe in the 1300s, he was considered a heretic for translating the Bible into common English, because it undermined the Church's power, and so he was hunted and persecuted (i.e. martyred/murdered) by the Church. So I grabbed some more copies of his work, starting with The New Testament (1526) by William Tyndale, Worms edition, original spelling - awesome book - at Amazon.

  • The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis -- Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength (e.g. at Amazon)
    I tried reading this as a kid and got bogged down shortly into Perelanda ... the books make much more sense now that I have an adult's appreciation for and understanding of Christianity. Same goes for the Narnia books.

  • Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
    I love everything that Eldgredge writes ...

  • Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
    I think they should be teaching this stuff in elementary school, but I can't imagine that happening without a lot of controversy.

  • So obviously I'm fond of finding early translations of stuff ... anybody know a particularly good (and early) translation of the Qur'an?

Other Important Stuff

  • The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won't ever see (1 hr 49 min)
    Description: On March 11 2008 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE - French-German cultural TV channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, The World According to Monsanto - A documentary that Americans won't ever see. The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years.

  • Evidently someone at Vanity Fair saw that documentary, because the magazine published an article May 2008 called "Monsanto's Harvest of Fear" which overlaps the film to a large degree.

  • Scary quote: "We paid $3 Billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is."
    --David Boylan, station manager of Fox WTVT Channel 13 in Tampa Florida, to reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, after they refused to broadcast an edited version of their news story about bovine growth hormone and the Monsanto Company. Wilson and Akre felt that the edited version was misleading and false. After several months of dispute over the story, Wilson and Akre were fired, without the story being broadcast.

    We've known for some time that Fox News is not. (News, that is) This quote is just a great one-sentence underscoring of that fact.

  • Nutrition & Health

    Since so many people have asked, here is some of the nutrition information that I have gathered over the years.

    • http://www.thechinastudy.com -- The China Study, a multi-decade research study run by a handful of really smart guys. It is a statistical sampling of an enormous population (over 600,000 individuals) with widely ranging diets and disease rates. Among the findings: animal proteins (e.g., various proteins in meat & eggs and casein found in milk) are shown clearly to enable cancerous growth, while plant proteins disable it. Amazing book. What I want to know is whether the casein in yogurt (i.e., fermented milk) acts the same way as casein in fresh milk ...

    • http://www.newtrendspublishing.com -- A publisher that focuses on health & nutrition ... I have the following books, and I highly recommend them:

      _The_Cholesterol_Myths_ by Uffe Ravnskov -- Your body manufactures way more cholesterol than you can eat in a day. Nobody has managed to show a causative link between eating it and getting heart disease, nor have they shown a causative link between having "high" serum cholesterol and getting heart disease. They are certainly related, but high serum cholesterol is actually an indicator of other causative behaviors (most likely a bad diet, see _The_China_Study_). More importantly, taking cholesterol-reducing medicine is actually way more likely to do you harm than any good.
      -- Note: no longer in print or available on their site ... new edition to appear RSN, via some other publisher

      _Nourishing_Traditions_ by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig -- Fallon seems to be a hippie/revolutionary-wannabe; Enig is a scientist (got her PhD in the study of lipids [dietary fat] at Maryland and is currently one of the world's leading authorities on dietary fat). The parts written by Enig are brilliant; the parts written by Fallon tend toward mud-slinging at the medical establishment (e.g., try to overlook her frequent use of the self-coined term "diet dictocrats"). Whether the medical establishment deserves criticism is not the point; her semi-paranoiac rants threaten to undermine the book's scientific credibility and authority. Oh well. Still an extremely good book -- it is a cookbook, but a very unusual one: the first 70-80 pages present an in-depth treatment of virtually every food out there and how it interacts with your body chemistry and physiology ... instead of saying "X is good, Y is bad" they show you why X is good and Y is bad. Brilliant.

      _The_Untold_Story_of_Milk_ by Ron Schmid, ND -- Interesting, controversial, eye-opening. As far as I can tell, the only real argument for pasteurization of milk is that it allows distributors to take slightly longer to ship it to you (and, of course, then after two weeks it becomes inedible ... instead of souring and becoming arguably more healthy for you).

    • http://www.amazon.com/Pottengers-Cats-Francis-Marion-Pottenger/dp/0916764060 -- The Pottenger's Cats study, showing a link (in cats) between an improper diet and a host of maladies including infertility, physical deformity (e.g. crooked teeth, pinched face), and psychological problems. I have the book and cannot recommend it highly enough. Additionally, here are good articles/essays on the study:

      http://www.ppnf.org/catalog/ppnf/Articles/PottsCats.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Pottenger

    • http://www.amazon.com/Nutrition-Physical-Degeneration-Weston-Andrew/dp/0879838167 -- Weston Price's book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" ... it is easy to read the Pottenger's Cats study and not be shocked, because your brain does an unconscious buffering of the information to protect you, along the lines of "no worries -- just a study of cats, not humans, no big deal, doesn't apply to me or my kids." The book by Price is a study (observational) of humans, so your brain can't abstract it away. I can only read a few chapters at a time before I have to put it down ... makes a deep impression. Price finds in humans exactly the same issues that Pottenger finds in cats: an undeniable link between diet, specifically the consumption of sugars and processed foods, and a host of maladies including infertility, physical deformity (e.g. crooked teeth, pinched face), and suggested psychological problems.

    • http://www.diabetes-normalsugars.com -- A really interesting and well-written book by a guy who was diagnosed with diabetes in the 1940s and realized that the American medical community was advising him to eat a diet made up primarily of sugar (what bonehead would tell a diabetic to eat tons of something his body can't process?). In particular, read Chapter 9 ... most enlightening: the guy is an engineer as well as a medical doctor and gives a pretty credible argument (backed up with chemical & physiological explanations) that the "four food groups" and "food pyramid" perspectives are both flawed -- that there are actually three main "food groups": carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Oh, and alcohol.

      http://www.diabetes-normalsugars.com/articles/articles.shtml -- Within that site, a list of related articles ... ones I've read and recommend highly:

      - http://www.diabetes-normalsugars.com/articles/fatlie.shtml -- "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?" by Gary Taubes. New York Times, July 7, 2002
      - http://www.diabetes-normalsugars.com/articles/ssdf.shtml -- "The Soft Science of Dietary Fat," by Gary Taubes. Science, March 3, 2001
      - http://www.diabetes-normalsugars.com/articles/truth_about_fats.shtml -- "The Truth About Fats," by Mary Enig, PhD, and Sally Fallon

      ... that last article is EXTREMELY interesting and a little scary.

    • Information on naturally leavened bread:

      - http://ranprieur.com/readings/natleavbread.html
      - http://www.kensartisan.com/leavenbread.html

      Everyone knows you can't make real beer without fermentation ... well, guess what -- for the same reason, you can't make real pickles using vinegar, and you can't make real bread using commercial yeast.

    • http://www.celticseasalt.com/Celtic_Seasalt_C3.cfm -- The best salt I've ever cooked with ... luckily, my local grocery store carries the stuff. Kept the link around because this is where the first bread article above used to be homed (just realized the link was dead & searched around for another copy of the article). But enough people who eat at our house ask about the salt, figured I'd put the info up.

    Let me know if you find any of the links to be dead ... I already discovered two good sites of nutrition articles and research gone. Such is life.

    Personal observations, in no particular order:

    • Eat lots of good bacteria (present on raw fruits & vegetables ... also present in pickled foods if made right, and in bread if made right).
    • Eat lots of fermented food (has good bacteria, as above, but also makes more of the nutrients available for digestion), including real pickled vegetables (sauerkraut tastes awesome if made right), naturally leavened bread, beer, yogurt, raw cheese, etc. ... though now that I've read The China Study, I have to wonder about yogurt & cheese. Bummer.
    • Eat tons of fruits & vegetables.
    • Stay away from processed foods (refined sugars & grains, etc. ... basically, anything in a box or bag or can these days). And, yes, this includes both breakfast cereal and soft drinks (staples of the student diet).
    • Get good sea salt (no fake iodine).
    • Personally, I'm a fan of real butter on my toast, heavy cream in my coffee, good organic free-range eggs and meats ... but again, I'm re-thinking now that I've read The China Study. Major bummer.


Funny Stuff

Courtesy of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics at http://www.smbc-comics.com/.


Best Electric Guitars on the Planet

... not that I'm biased or anything ... :)

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Photo: Marcus Yam, Washington Post
The Chuck Berry of the Engineering World, Susan Kinzie, Washington Post, July 7, 2009. Front page of the Metro section.

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The Gig-Saver: 15 Tones, One Guitar, Interview with Robert Siegel on "All Things Considered," National Public Radio (NPR), July 10, 2009.
Awesome quote from Siegel: "In these hard times, why go buy five new electric guitars when you can buy one?"
You can listen to the audio of the radio segment here:

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"Putting More Sexy In Your Guitar," Bruce Leshan, WUSA TV9, July 8, 2009.

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UMD professor says he's built a better guitar, Maria Zilberman, The Daily Record, July 8, 2009.

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Teaching Tech Transfer Through Music, Erica R. Hendry, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 27, 2009.

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Last updated: recently by Bruce Jacob (email address) using the vi text editor ... best viewed in Safari