To silicon valley and back: Introducing Professor John Goodenough
After over 20 years working in industry, the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield is very pleased to welcome back Professor John Goodenough, who last spent time at the University as a PhD student. During his previous stint in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, John was supervised by Dr. Luke Seed, who he will now work alongside as colleagues in the department. After completing his PhD (during which time he also worked as a Post Doctoral Research Assistant and part-time lecturer), in 1995 John spun out the company Infinite Designs from the University of Sheffield VLSI research group.
Initially Infinite Designs was a 12 person design consultancy, but the company was subsequently acquired by ARM in April 2000. Under the ARM umbrella the company still exists today, with a workforce of around 150 staff in Sheffield, and a second Northern office in Manchester. The specialism for Infinite Designs was Embedded System and ASIC design, and design methodology consulting to global customers. John worked both leading the technical team as a lead architect, before changing roles and beginning two very successful decades of employment with ARM.
He moved into several different roles, first working as a Technical Director for System on Chip Solutions, then becoming Worldwide Director for Design Technology, and into several VP roles in Design, Engineering Systems, and Research Collaboration.
John’s move to the University of Sheffield is one that both he and the Department are very excited about, as he brings with him decades of industry experience, networks and knowledge, as well as an appetite to build on innovation in teaching delivery in fresh new ways. He has been brought on board as the Chair of Microelectronic Systems, and aims to reinvigorate the Electronic Systems group that previously existed within the Department.
I am looking forward to working with old and new colleagues in the Department, Faculty, and more broadly across the academic and commercial ecosystems to inspire the next generation of SoC and microelectronic Design Engineers. We want to equip them with relevant skills and design patterns that will enable them to join the semiconductor industry. Whether focused on materials, hardware, or software, we need more talented engineers ready to tackle the challenges of safe, secure SoC system Design Integration and Deployment.
Professor John N. Goodenough
Chair in Microelectronics Systems and Professor in Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sheffield
There is a lot of focus globally on the Semiconductor Industry following recent supply chain challenges, highlighting the need for both research and workforce development. A focus on System on Chip design complements the Department’s existing strengths in Semiconductor manufacturing.
In his introductory lecture entitled ‘I’ll have a bag of Chips with that!, ’delivered to the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering on the 22nd February 2023, Professor Goodenough gave an overview of his impressive career so far, and talked about the opportunities and challenges that he sees in the world of chip design. His motto for the talk was ‘Open Ecosystems Accelerate Innovation’.
In an engaging presentation, John discussed the chip architecture knowledge gap in chip design, and introduced a 3 As agenda for discussing System on Chip - Architecture, Automation, and Assurance. Professor Goodenough defined System on Chip as anything that is running programmable systems, and talked about the fact that Chips are becoming more and more important, but that we need to consider the priorities for their design, the top of these being security. Of increasing importance is the requirement to consider the entry points to System on Chip plumbing from malicious actors, and to think about how we can boot chips in a secure way.
Within the talk, John stated that ‘the modern world would stop without chips - we’ve embedded them into every aspect of our lives’, and indeed in a slide where he demonstrated multiple instances where a chip might be integrated, from our phones to our washing machines, it is apparent that now, and in the future, much of our technological innovation really is in the hands of chip designers and manufacturers.
In this future, there will be a consistent demand for researchers and innovators who understand how to integrate System on Chip - this will include roles doing everything from running manufacture lines to the design of the Chips themselves. John Goodenough therefore talked about the need to make chip design ‘cool and accessible!’, and hopes here at the University of Sheffield we will be able to do this by creating a centre of System on Chip expertise, and perhaps even look at turning out real Systems on Chip by leveraging open-source tooling. In the immediate future in the context of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, John’s teaching related to the subject will be delivered through the Electronics and Computer Engineering course curriculum.
John ended his presentation by expressing his eagerness for collaboration opportunities, both inside and outside the department and the university. John has decades of experience with US funding agencies, and is pleased to be able to bring links with his US networks and opportunities for strategic partnerships to the University of Sheffield.
“It's an exciting time to be in our industry, and I would love to chat with anyone interested in collaborating on either research agendas or teaching delivery for: 'full-stack', secure, safe SoC Architectures, Design Automation strategies for SoC integration and assurance, full lifecycle secure device deployment/management.
It's been quite a while since we spun Infinite Designs (subsequently acquired by arm) out of the department back in 1995, but it's great to be back in Steel City and collaborating directly with my Ph.D. Supervisor Luke Seed!“
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