Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Associate Professor and the Associate Chair for Academics and Strategic Initiatives in the ECE department, wins the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Design Automation Outstanding New Faculty Award. Presented annually to one person worldwide the award recognizes junior faculty members early in their academic careers who show outstanding potential in the field of electronic design automation.

Last year, Gaillardon was also awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Council on Electronic Design Automation’s Ernest S. Kuh Early Career Award making him the recipient of the early career award from two of the main professional societies in his field.

Leading the Laboratory for NanoIntegrated Systems Gaillardon has many large projects challenging the boundaries of traditional computer engineering. The broad scope of his lab has students developing new transistors in the cleanroom, others doing circuits, architectural design while others take a look at embedded systems and artificial intelligence applications.

Gaillardon started his career as a research associate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a visiting research associate at Stanford University and was a research assistant at CEA-Leti. Following his post-doctorate Gaillardon was looking for a tenure-track faculty position which was when he accepted an offer from the University of Utah.

“The U was allowing me to thrive professionally, but also enjoy a fantastic quality of life,” Gaillardon said. “[I enjoy] The close proximity to nature, outdoor and southern Utah desert, while being in a Tier 1 research environment.”

Here, two of Gaillardon’s projects include designing the first open-source field-programmable gate array hardware and low-cost air quality monitors.

FPGAs are one of the largest enablers of machine learning today. It is a hardware circuit that a user is able to program to carry out one or more logical operations and Gaillardon and his team are making it open-sourced.

“There is a movement started recently around open-source hardware, where similarly to software, complete hardware solutions are meant to be open-source,” Gaillardon said. “The RISC-V, a completely open-source CPU, is getting a lot of momentum in the semiconductor ecosystem…”

Alongside colleagues throughout the College of Engineering Gaillardon has also developed low-cost air quality monitors that he and his team are now expanding to track an even wider range of pollutants.

As Gaillardon continues to shape his field he advises aspiring educators and researchers to keep the bigger picture in mind.

“Be role models. Do innovative work, but always keep applicability and a large dose of common sense in mind,” Gaillardon said. “In the end, as engineers, we are solving real-life problems and it is important to know what is relevant to work on.”