How can 1 billion transistors fit in your phone?

​​​Faculty Spotlight: Rouwaida Kanj​​

​​​​​​​Dr. Rouwaida Kanj​ is an assistant professor at MSFEA. Her research focuses on developing algorithms and methodologies to help engineers build more reliable computer chips. This work relies heavily on logical, mathematical and probabilistic methods. The algorithms are universal and can be employed in other applications in the biomedical and financial fields.

“Technology plays a great role in advancing our lives, and it is so inspiring and rewarding to be part of the technological revolution" Kanj describes, quoting Alan Kay “The best way to predict the future is to invent it."  A good example of this is what she explains in her tech talk (video below) at AUB Stanford Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference 2017. 

“If you have the heart to rip your iPhone, you will find more than 1 billion transistors in an area less than 97mm2. An IBM Cell Processor, smaller than a butterfly has millions of transistors. How can you put so many switches, so many functioning elements in such a small area? If we can collect a thousand people who are very organized in one room, that would be a miracle. So how did this miracle come to reality with elements that are smaller than hair?"

Dr. Kanj received the MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA in 2000 and 2004, respectively. From 2004-2012 she worked as a research staff member at IBM Austin Research Labs. She was a recipient of three IBM PhD Fellowships, is the author of more than 70 technical papers, 30 issued US patents and several pending patents. She received an outstanding technical achievement award and 6 Invention Plateau awards fro​m IBM. She received the prestigious IEEE/ACM WILLIAM J. MCCALLA ICCAD best paper award in 2009, and two IEEE ISQED best paper awards in 2006 and 2014. She is currently a senior member of IEEE.​​