Press Archive

Rocks Team Helps UCSD Researchers Win Very Large-Scale Integrated Circuits Placement Contest By Providing Last-Minute Compute Power

Published 05/24/2005

The team behind APlace, a large-scale placer software package used in the integrated-circuit design process, recently turned to the Rocks group at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) for last-minute compute power so they could test and tune their software for a performance contest. The five-day contest, sponsored by IBM's Austin Research Lab and the International Symposium on Physical Design, was run on industrial designs with up to millions of placeable components, reflecting the design challenges of tomorrow's complex systems-on-chip.

In response to the APlace team's request, the Rocks group retargeted machines in SDSC's CyLab (the Cyberinfrastructure Partnership (CIP) testbed), allowing the APlace team to meet its high-memory and CPU cycle requirements. Within 24 hours, Rocks software enabled the integration and delivery of a cluster to the APlace team, providing them with the high-performance compute power necessary for success.

As a result of the Rocks team's efforts, the APlace team won the performance contest, beating competitors on all benchmarks. The increased compute power allowed APlace to meet its goals of building a new placer with scalable, robust and high-quality implementation.

"The help of the Rocks team was essential to our ability to compete - let alone win - this competition," said Andrew Kahng, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). "With the increased compute power provided by the Rocks team, the APlace team was able to prevail decisively against other top-ranked universities and research groups from around the world, including several well-resourced groups with decades of experience."

For more information on the contest or the APlace technology, please visit