UH Professor Aims to Revolutionize AI through Microchip Development

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Engineering has welcomed Boris Murmann, a world-renowned expert in microchip and semiconductor development, as a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Murmann’s extensive background and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed-signal integrated circuit design are expected to significantly advance the university’s research and educational initiatives in these fields.

Murmann received a degree in communications engineering from Fachhochschule Dieburg, Germany, in 1994, followed by an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University, California, in 1999. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 2003. Prior to joining the University of Hawaii, Murmann served as an assistant, associate, and full professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University from 2004 to 2023.

His private sector experience includes working at Neutron Microelectronics in Germany from 1994 to 1997, where he developed low-power and smart-power ASICs. He has also served as a consultant for numerous Silicon Valley companies since 2004.

As a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Murmann has held numerous leadership positions within the organization. Murmann’s contributions to the field have also been widely recognized through awards conferred at IEEE and VLSI conferences. Most recently, in 2021, he was honored with the SIA-SRC University Researcher Award for his lifetime research contributions to the U.S. semiconductor industry.

At the University of Hawaii, Murmann plans to leverage his expertise to democratize chip design, a critical aspect of AI advancement. He is currently teaching an electrical engineering graduate course (EE 628) where students design their own chips using open-source technologies, enabling faster and more efficient processing of complex data.

“This is just the beginning of a new way of doing chip design, getting people excited about it and being a lot more productive than we used to be,” Murmann said in a university press release.

Murmann’s arrival coincides with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s (ECE) search for a full-time tenure-track faculty position in hardware systems for machine learning and AI-driven sensors. This position, offered in collaboration with the Physics & Astronomy (P&A) department, seeks candidates with a strong research record at the intersection of hardware design for sensor signal acquisition and machine learning, which are essential for the development of advanced AI systems.

The ECE department is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive educational environment that promotes research and graduate education in AI and related fields. The successful applicant for the new faculty position will be expected to develop an externally funded research program, collaborate with researchers across various departments, and contribute to the development of place-based and Hawaii-based AI curriculum.

With Murmann’s extensive expertise and the university’s ongoing efforts to expand its AI research and educational programs, the University of Hawaii at Manoa aims to become a leading institution in the development of cutting-edge AI technologies. By fostering a culturally diverse and inclusive academic environment, UH will contribute to the growth of Hawaii’s technology sector and the advancement of groundbreaking AI solutions that can benefit both the local community and the world at large.