Designing the Future of Computing
Shaun Ghosh '22
Computer Engineering, Commonwealth Honors College
“My mentor showed me how to look at the big research picture while planning for multiple possible research paths that could result in significant breakthroughs.”
Shaun Ghosh relishes complexity: “I chose to be a computer engineer to fully decipher the wizardry behind the most complicated machines designed by humans,” he says. At UMass Amherst, he has had the opportunity to dive into what he calls “extreme engineering” as he works to design the next generation of significantly more powerful and efficient computer chips.
Since the summer after his first year on campus, Ghosh has been an undergraduate researcher in the Nanoscale Computing Fabrics Lab of Professor Csaba Andras Moritz in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a lab that focuses on emerging technologies, circuits, and large-scale integration for digital integrated circuits and Bayesian artificial intelligence. There, he’s been looking at ways of making computers more powerful by increasing the number of transistors on a chip. He focuses on the development of three-dimensional integrated circuits, or 3D-IC technology, for digital ICs. This involves the creation from the ground up of a new chip technology that integrates vertical transistors, new vertically placed circuits, interconnects, and assembly, in 3D.
The more complicated a problem gets, the more fun it is to decipher
Until now, Ghosh explains, transistors and circuits have been integrated mainly on a two-dimensional plane. However, three-dimensional integrated circuits increase the transistor count per area by stacking transistors and wiring them in the 3D space to form digital circuits. This requires the redesign of the entire fabric architecture. For his Commonwealth Honors College thesis, Ghosh aims to engineer a chip based on this technology.
To date, Ghosh’s work has contributed to two publications at leading conferences in the field. One of the papers he co-authored won the 2021 Best Paper Award at the Annual International Symposium on VLSI. His experience from this research also led to an internship at GlobalFoundries, one of the biggest players in the chip manufacturing industry.
Says Moritz, “Shaun has been instrumental in this work and worked hard contributing to many aspects. He is also an excellent student in the department who is highly motivated and passionate about research.” Ghosh admires Moritz’s vast knowledge of computer engineering as well as his willingness to allow the students in his lab to figure things out on their own and become early creative participants. “He’s very supportive and accommodating,” he says. As the lab’s sole undergraduate, Ghosh is also grateful for the guidance of the graduate students with whom he collaborates.
Ghosh plans to study for a PhD in computer engineering—and to break boundaries of computation. “The more complicated a problem gets,” he says, “the more fun it is to decipher it.”