ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

Bradley Distinguished Seminar: Dr. Robert Colwell

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Location: Kelly Hall 310

Talk by Dr. Robert Colwell, Director, Microsystems Technology Office (DARPA): "If You Didn’t Test It, It Doesn’t Work"

Abstract: Engineers fundamentally believe that it's possible to "get it right", to create something new that accomplishes its mission and never disappoints. Validators know that, if that is possible, it's exceedingly unlikely, becausethey've never seen it. Validators learn that if humans are involved, then human error is present. (And sometimes tool errors, manufacturing errors, user errors, and validation errors, possibly all at the same time.) Design engineers would do well to consider the validation attitude while creating their designs. Everyone should learn from their mistakes, but it's even better to learn from the mistakes of others. In this talk I will discuss the impacts and origins of design errors and validation mistakes, and talk about the best way forward.

Bio: Dr. Robert (Bob) Colwell joined the Microsystems Technology Office in April 2011 as the Deputy Director. His interests include architectural and hardware engineering, CPUs, chipsets, buses, memories, and electronics. Before joining DARPA, Dr. Colwell worked as a consultant specializing in general computer HW/SW consulting to industry and academia. From 1990 – 2001, Dr. Colwell worked for the Intel Corporation and served as Chief Architect (IA32) responsible for all of Intel's Pentium CPU architecture efforts. He also initiated and led Intel's Pentium 4 CPU development. In 1997, Dr. Colwell was named an Intel Fellow, the highest technical grade at the company. Dr. Colwell was a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs from 1977 to 1980, working on the BellMac series of microprocessors. Dr. Colwell has been a recipient of the Eckert‐Mauchly Award for “outstanding achievements in the design and implementation of industry‐changing microarchitectures, and for significant contributions to the RISC/CISC architecture debate. In addition, Dr. Colwell was elected to IEEE Fellow and the National Academy of Engineering for “contributions to turning novel computer architecture concepts into viable, cutting‐edge commercial processors.” From 2006 – 2009, Dr. Colwell was selected as member of ISAT (Information Systems Advanced Technology) and co‐chaired Machine Learning on Multicore in 2009. Having written over two dozen publications and one book, Dr. Colwell has been an invited speaker by DARPA, Google, and multiple universities. He is the inventor/co‐inventor on 40 patents and is a recipient of the Carnegie‐Mellon Distinguished Alumni Fellows Award and an Alumni Achievement
Award from the University of Pittsburgh. In September of 2012, Dr. Colwell became the new Director for the Microsystems Technology Office. Dr. Colwell received a BSEE from the University of Pittsburgh, and both his MSEE and PhD from Carnegie‐Mellon University.