In a recent conversation with the IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine, Professor Jason Cong, the Volgenau Chair for Engineering Excellence at UCLA’s Computer Science Department, offered insights into his journey and contributions to electronic design automation (EDA). It is evident that Cong’s career is a testament to curiosity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge.

Cong’s journey traces back to his early interests in mathematics in Beijing and his transition from mathematics to EDA, ultimately shaping the trajectory of his career. Throughout the interview, Cong demonstrated his unique ability to identify significant research questions at inflection points in semiconductor and integrated circuit (IC) technology. His contributions address challenges such as the interconnect bottleneck, high-level synthesis for SoC designs, and navigating the complexities of the end of Dennard scaling. Additionally, his approach extends beyond his chosen discipline and includes reading, online courses, collaborations, and sabbaticals – showcasing his active role in academia.

Cong’s outlook on trends in EDA, from democratizing customizable computing to exploring near-data computing and acceleration and venturing into quantum computing, envisions a landscape where innovation is anticipatory rather than reactive. The article concludes with insights into Cong’s mentorship philosophy, emphasizing mutual learning, teamwork, and holistic development. The success stories of over 50 Ph.D. students and postdocs highlight the impact of Cong’s mentorship beyond research, defining success not solely by personal milestones but by enduring influence and the accomplishments of his mentees.

Congratulations to Cong on his distinguished career etched with groundbreaking contributions, visionary leadership, and a lasting commitment to the advancement of EDA.

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