Distinguished Lecture | Student Event

A Recent History of Integrated Circuits: Bottlenecks and Breakthroughs

Dennis SylvesterEdward S. Davidson Collegiate ProfessorElectrical and Computer Engineering
Johnson Rooms, Lurie Engineering Center (3rd floor)Map

Reception will follow ceremony and talk in Masco Commons, third floor, Lurie Engineering Center. 

The invention of the integrated circuit (IC) in the late 1950s was arguably the most important invention of the last 100 years as it made possible the use of many transistors together in electronic systems.  The IC serves as the foundation of the global economy, supporting 10s of Trillions of USD across telecommunications, information technology, and other sectors.  Over the past 25 years, various bottlenecks have been forecast for the continued scaling of ICs, but breakthroughs emerged.  We will discuss several of these in turn, and then highlight some lessons learned about research from anecdotes of my own IC design research over the past few decades.


Dennis Sylvester is an internationally-recognized leader in the area of ultra-low power integrated circuit design. His research and collaborations led to the development of the world’s smallest computer, called the Michigan Micro Mote (M3). 

He co-founded two companies related to low-power computing and millimeter-scale computers. Ambiq, founded in 2010, provides ultra-low power semiconductor designs for battery-operated devices, IoT, wearables, and voice-controlled products. CubeWorks, Inc., founded in 2013, produces ultra-small wireless smart sensors. His former student co-founded Mythic, which builds chips for artificial intelligence in edge applications, based on licensed technology from Sylvester’s research group. He has published over 550 articles, one book, and several book chapters. He also holds 51 U.S. patents, the majority of which have been licensed by a range of companies including ARM.

Prof. Sylvester received an NSF CAREER Award, the Beatrice Winner Award at ISSCC, the SRC Inventor Recognition Award, the CoE Innovation Excellence Award, the U-M Henry Russel Award, and the U-M Distinguished University Innovator Award. His research has been recognized with 15 best paper awards and nominations. He was also named one of the Top Contributing Authors at ISSCC, and most prolific author at IEEE Symposium on VLSI Circuits.

Sylvester has served as an IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Distinguished Lecturer, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits. He is the Senior Associate Chair for Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Prof. Sylvester received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and his MS and PhD from UC-Berkeley, all in electrical engineering. He worked at Synopsys before joining Michigan in 2000.

Sponsored by

Electrical and Computer Engineering


Ann Stals