Three faculty members of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science — Jason Cong and George Varghese of Computer Science, and Behzad Razavi of Electrical Engineering (above, left to right) — have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest honors that can be accorded to an American engineer. The academy announced the 2017 class of 84 members and 22 foreign members on Feb. 8.
With the election of Cong, Varghese and Razavi, UCLA Engineering has 35 affiliated faculty members who are National Academy of Engineering members.
Jingsheng Jason Cong, Distinguished Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science, was recognized by the academy “for pioneering contributions to application-specific programmable logic via innovations in field programmable gate array (FPGA) synthesis.”
George Varghese, Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science, was recognized by the academy “for network algorithmics that make the Internet faster, more secure, and more reliable.”
Behzad Razavi, Chancellor’s Professor of Electrical Engineering, was recognized by the academy “for contributions to low-power broadband communication circuits.”
Cong has led research in electronic design automation, energy-efficient computing, customized computing for big-data applications and highly scalable algorithms. In particular, FPGAs designed by his synthesis algorithms are now key components of the world’s communication and computation infrastructures.
Cong is the director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Domain Specific Computing, which looks beyond parallelization in computing and focuses on domain-specific customization, from single chips up to data centers, to achieve drastic power efficiency improvement. He also leads the VLSI Architecture, Synthesis and Technology Laboratory at UCLA and holds a faculty appointment in the electrical engineering department.
Cong has received numerous awards for his research, including the Technical Achievement Award from both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) Circuits and System Society and the IEEE Computer Society. He is a fellow of IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
Cong is a distinguished visiting professor at Peking University (PKU), and the co-director of the UCLA/PKU Joint Research Institute in Science and Engineering. He was a founder or co-founder of three startup companies that were each acquired by larger companies, and is currently a co-founder, chairman and chief scientific adviser of Falcon Computing Solutions.
Cong received his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1987 and 1990 respectively, and his B.S. in computer science from Peking University in 1985. He joined the UCLA computer science department in 1990 and has graduated 35 Ph.D. students.
Varghese has seen several of the algorithms he helped develop appear in commercial systems, including for Cisco and Microsoft Windows. Varghese’s current research interest is on network verification — treating networks as mathematical objects and building tools to either prove properties about large clouds or discover bugs as counterexamples.
Varghese’s honors include the IEEE Kobayashi Award for Computers and Communications and the Lifetime Award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication. He is a Fellow of the ACM.
Varghese joined UCLA Engineering in 2016. Prior to UCLA, he was a partner-level principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and was a Distinguished Visitor in 2011-12 at Stanford University’s computer science department. Varghese has previously been on the faculty of UC San Diego and Washington University in St. Louis.
In 2004 he co-founded NetSift Inc., a UC San Diego spinoff company, where he was president and chief technical officer. The company was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2005.
Varghese received his Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. Prior to MIT, he was an engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation. He received his M.S. in computer studies from North Carolina State University in 1983 and his B.S. in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1981. He received IIT Bombay’s 2015 distinguished alumnus award.
Razavi is a pioneer in the design of high-speed, complementary, metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) communication circuits used in high-speed internet transceivers. His work in CMOS technology has directly impacted the electronics that power the internet.
Razavi is the director of the Communications Circuits Laboratory at UCLA, which conducts research on wireless transceivers, frequency synthesizers, phase-locking and clock recovery for high-speed data communications, and data converters.
Razavi’s honors include IEEE’s 2012 Donald O. Pederson Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to solid-state circuits. He is a Fellow and distinguished lecturer of IEEE. He and his students have received eight IEEE best paper awards. He has also received several honors for his teaching, including the American Society for Engineering Education Pacific SouthWest Section Outstanding Teaching Award and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Razavi has also published seven books on integrated circuit design.
Razavi joined the UCLA electrical engineering department in 1996 as an associate professor. Prior to UCLA, he was a staff member at AT&T Bell Laboratories and at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, and held adjunct faculty appointments at Princeton and Stanford universities. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford in 1988 and 1992 respectively, and his B.S. in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 1985. Razavi has graduated 24 Ph.D. students.