LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 12 July, 2010 – Students from Colombia, Egypt, Russia, and South Korea were top winners in the 2010 Computer Society Student Design Competition, which asked undergraduates to design a CPU architecture.
Because of the high caliber of the contestants, the top prize was shared among two student teams. Teams representing Egypt’s Al-Azhar University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) will each receive a $4,500 top prize.
“The standard was high,” said Alan Clements, Student Competition Chair and a professor of computer science at the University of Teesside in the United Kingdom. “Indeed, the judges were unable to select one winner and chose two teams as clear winners.”
The teams of undergraduates were asked to design a CPU architecture, build a simulator for it, and write a report. This competition required students to have a wide range of experience from computer architecture, to software design and software engineering, and finally, the ability to write an extensive report. Students had considerable freedom in how they interpreted the problem.
The international panel of judges included academics and industrialists, including representatives from major semiconductor corporations.
The prize for best architecture ($1,000) went to the team from Russian State Technological University (MATI). The team from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University received the prize for designing the best simulator ($1,000), and the prize for the best software design ($1,000) went to the team from Colombia’s Los Andes University at Bogota.
“I am very pleased with the wide geographic distribution of the teams,” Clements said. “This demonstrates that the IEEE Computer Society is truly a global organization.”
Clements complimented the high caliber of contestants throughout the competition. “All the finalists were excellent; indeed, we chose 12 finalists rather than the anticipated 10 because of the sheer quality of the entries,” he said.
Besides the five top winners, the finalists included teams from:
• Chulalongkorn University Znchronization Team – Thailand
• Florida Gulf Coast University Team – USA
• San Pablo Catholic University Peru Team – Peru
• University of Informatics Sciences Team 9 – Cuba
• Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana Team - Colombia
• University of California, San Diego – USA
• University of Jordan – Jordan
• University of Massachusetts, Amherst – USA
The competition, intended to promote excellence in system design, required students to solve a real-world problem. The teams were judged on the design’s originality; the simulator’s functionality, quality, and versatility; and the use of software engineering.
Student teams were limited to five members, all of whom had to be working on undergraduate degrees. Credit was awarded for construction of the instruction set and the tradeoff between complexity and elegance. In order to simplify the project, students were not required to consider interrupt handling, floating-point operations, or pipelining/superscalar mechanisms.