Brayton also was a pioneer in combining logic-synthesis with place-and-route algorithms during the development of the Yorktown Silicon Compiler at IBM. This seminal project transformed a circuit's behavioral description into a design implementation in terms of logic gates.
"The Yorktown Silicon Compiler, which I developed with Alberto Sangiovanni, demonstrated a particular way of combining logic-synthesis with place-and-route [algorithms] that the whole industry has made many variations on since," said Brayton.
Shortly after working on the Yorktown Silicon Complier, Brayton joined the group at UC Berkeley that developed Spice. Since then the whole CAD and EDA software world has built upon the principles employed in these seminal efforts.
"The EDA world is far beyond what we did with logic synthesis and the silicon compiler," said Brayton. "Today they have to worry about crosstalk, and worry about power, and worry about [the effects of] sizing."
Today Brayton is also working on these problems at the forefront of design automation, particularly on the verification algorithms that are needed to ensure that chips designed for the advanced semiconductor nodes have high yields.
"The work of design automation is getting harder and harder," said Brayton. "There is a greater need for more innovative solutions than we have ever had before. The shrinking [to advanced nodes] creates so many problems in designing chips that they need to be verified--that today verification is essential to getting chips to work properly."
According to Brayton, these greater design automation problems also present greater opportunities for students to enjoy a fruitful and lucrative career while working on interesting problems that are increasingly important.
"My students keep getting job offers that tempt them to leave before even finishing their Ph.D.'s," said Brayton. "The kind of training they are receiving by working on these challenging problemsdeveloping algorithms that attack huge problemsqualifies them in a variety of other areas too, such as for financial applications."
Brayton is an IEEE Fellow, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has already received the IEEE Circuits and Systems Technical Achievement Award, the Circuits and Systems Golden Jubilee Award, the IEEE Millennium Medal, the Emanuel R. Piore Award,'the Iowa State University Marston Medal, the European Design Automation Society lifetime achievement award and the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award.