Research Overview

Prof. Heather Zheng at the white board

Computer Engineering Research at UCSB

CE research lies not only at the interface of computer science and electrical engineering, but increasingly ties computing together with biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, and even environmental engineering.

Our research is ideally positioned to help solve societal problems through the construction of practical systems composed of emerging technologies. We live in a time of both opportunity and crisis. Rising carbon emissions and energy costs are a global problem. Aging populations increasingly strain healthcare resources. Computing technologies are at the heart of many potential solutions to these problems. Emerging technologies in nanoscale and bio-compatible materials hold the promise to increase energy-efficiency and revolutionize healthcare. We also see opportunities in massive information gathering and large-scale computing resources to exploit that information.

We must also address increasing challenges to continued scaling of conventional silicon and to maintaining the dramatic performance growth of past computing systems.

CE Areas of Research

  • Bioinspired Computing
  • Circuit and System Design
  • Computer Architecture
  • Electronic Design Automation & Testing
  • Emerging Technologies for Computing


  • Energy-efficient Computing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Networking
  • Operating and Distributed Systems
  • Software and Language


Faculty Lab Spotlight


PQRS Computer Architecture Lab

Behrooz Parhami


PQRS imageParhami's research projects entail aspects of computer design and architecture that are captured by the abbreviation PQRS, with each aspect defined by a set of keywords:

  • Performance, incorporates latency, speedup, throughput 
  • Quality, embodies accuracy, parts/energy economy, stability 
  • Reliability, encompasses correctness, timeliness, safety 
  • Scalability, spans modularity, packageability, expandability

In recent years, the focus has somewhat expanded to also include TUVW, as defined below:

tuvw image
  • Testability, during design, implementation, and field use 
  • Usability, while requiring minimal expertise and training 
  • Versatility, to allow mass production for economy of scale 
  • Workability, a synonym for practicality in design and use


Within the rather broad field of computer design and architecture, Professor Parhami's active research interests fall within three subareas:

Faculty Research News

ACM interviews ECE Professor Yuan Xie in their Nov. 2017 "People of ACM – Bulletin"

photo of yuan xie- What research area is receiving the most of your attention right now?
- Tell us a about 3D memory stacking and computer architecture design
- What are the possible architectural innovations in the AI era?

Profs. Krintz & Wolski among awardees of an NSF grant to build next-generation cloud federation

photos of krintz and wolskiIt will address limitations w/ new systems technologies that will enable users to leverage multiple cloud infrastructures at once and will define a new software abstraction for the scalable data managment (datastore) layer, called DatGeo, that bridges geographically distributed cloud federations.

Faculty Research Profile: Professor Tevfik Bultan

photo of Tevfik Bultan
  • Ph.D.: University of Maryland
  • Lab / Group: Verification Lab (Vlab)
  • Research Areas: Software Verification, Program Analysis, Software Engineering, Computer Security

Tell Us About Your Research: My research focuses on automated verification techniques and their application to software. As computer systems become more pervasive, their dependability becomes increasingly important. As a result, there is an ongoing shift in focus, both in academia and industry, from performance to dependability. The size and complexity of the software systems nowadays inevitably lead to errors during both design and implementation phases. The goal of our research at VLab is to develop verification techniques that will help developers in identifying errors in software. Recently, we have developed a novel approach for finding data model bugs in software applications written using the Ruby-on-Rails framework, where programming errors could lead to loss of data or unauthorized access to data — see research full description

What do you Find Particularly Rewarding about your Research?:

Computing is a young field. It has changed the world already, but this is just the beginning. For years to come, human civilization will be heavily influenced by the advancements in the field of computing. Conducting scientific research in computing is a very fulfilling way to contribute to this future. I am particularly interested in research problems about analyzing software. The core of computing discipline is programming, in other words, writing software. By focusing on software analysis, I get to work on one of the core problems in the field of computing.

(More about Professor Bultan and other faculty's research...)

Research Initiative – Li-C. Wang

Main areas of research:

photo of li wang
  • Big Data analytics for the semiconductor chip design
    industry
  • Data mining in design automation and test
  • Functional verification
  • Test data mining

Research lab: Microprocessor Test and Validation


Read the article in the ECE Current