Volunteer Spotlight: George A. Constantinides

Transactions on Computers Retired Transactions on Computers Associate Editor George A. Constantinides discusses his interest and accomplishments in the field of computing.

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Q. Tell me a little about your research area and what motivated you to get into it?

A. I primarily work on design tools and algorithms for Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), a form of programmable hardware that combines the flexibility of software with the performance and power consumption advantages of semi-customized hardware. I was first motivated to enter the subject after working one summer as an undergraduate for Peter Cheung, in the mid 90s, when these devices first became sizable enough to use for computational purposes.

Q. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

A. I am particularly proud of our work on automating the production of finite precision numerical hardware from arbitrary precision specifications, and our work on automating the production of customized memory subsystems to support massively parallel datapath. In terms of impact, I am particularly proud of the inroads I have made into advanced control techniques together with Dr Kerrigan and Prof. Maciejowski.

Q. What motivated you to become an Associate Editor for the IEEE TC?

A. I edited a special issue of TC early in my career, dedicated to the best papers from the FPL conference. This brought me in touch with the previous EIC and the wider community around TC. The high quality of the journal motivated me to accept the invitation to join the editorial board as a fully-fledged AE.

Q. What is the best part of being an Associate Editor and will you encourage others to take up this role?

A. Being an Associate Editor can be demanding, but is rewarding as a way to contribute back to the community. You get a chance to help shape papers by selecting reviewers you know will help improve the presentation of good research. You get a strong role in determining which suggestions must be enacted by authors, and therefore – I hope – help to result in improved dissemination of research. I would encourage researchers who – over their career – built up a good number of willing reviewers to seriously consider being an AE.

Q. How do you see your research field shaping up and what are the major directions?

A. Over my time in my research field, I have seen it grow from a niche area to a well respected discipline. The march of the FPGA into territory previously occupied by the ASIC continues unabated. Meanwhile the search for ease of programmability becomes ever more urgent. I see numerical behaviour and memory subsystem design as key areas for development in high level synthesis over the next five years.

Q. What advice would you give to junior researchers and graduate students?

A. My advice to my research students and staff has always been to find an area that excites them and that suits their skills. If you're both excited by something and good at it, nothing can stop you!

Q. What profession would you be in if you weren't in this field?

A. A farmer.

Q. Any final thoughts?

A. I'd just like to thank the staff and EICs of TC over the period I've been an AE for all their help and support.