Expert on Analog Electronics to Join UT Dallas

Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair Will Direct $16 Million Center

Feb. 3, 2009

A leading authority in the field of analog electronics has been named director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence, or TxACE, at The University of Texas at Dallas, where he plans “to help shape the landscape for research in analog electronics,” which he calls “a fundamental technology that touches virtually everyone’s daily life.”

Kenneth O will join the University’s Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science next fall as a professor of electrical engineering and holder of the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair.

UT Dallas is committed to expanding its research and education in analog technology, and Dr. O’s leadership will be key to that, said UT Dallas President Dr. David E. Daniel.

“The new analog center is the centerpiece of a large collaborative effort, and we’re delighted to have a brilliant, energetic researcher of Dr. O’s caliber take charge of it,” he said.

Dr. O is currently a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida, where he has taught and performed research since 1994.

TxACE is a $16 million project that Texas Governor Rick Perry announced in October. Based at UT Dallas, it’s a collaborative effort jointly funded by Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, Texas Instruments, the UT System and UT Dallas.

Although digital technology tends to dominate high-tech news, analog technology is the workhorse responsible for taking real-world information such as sounds, images, smells, textures, temperatures and motion, translating it into digital form (for processing, storage or transmission) and then converting it back into real-world information.

“The majority of electrical engineering students specialize in digital electronics, but as the use of digital grows, the need for analog grows at several times that rate, so analog engineers are in great demand,” said Dr. Mark Spong, dean of the Jonsson School and holder of the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering. “Plus many engineers find analog more rewarding to work with than digital, and TxACE will help us convey the excitement of analog technology to students.”

Although Dr. O won’t formally arrive at UT Dallas until later this year, he already has plans in the works.

“I’m looking forward to working with people at UT Dallas, other universities, SRC, TI, the UT system and the State of Texas to build one of the top analog and mixed-signal-circuits programs in the world,” he said. “I want TxACE to work toward solving difficult problems facing analog designers and creating new fields in electronics that can make significant differences for overcoming some of the big problems our world faces.”

The center will work in particular on developing circuits and techniques that improve public safety and security, enhance medical care and help the U.S. become more energy-independent, he said. That will include ultra-low-power electronics for implantable medical devices, he added, noting that the proximity of UT Dallas to the UT Southwestern Medical Center will be a great asset.

Dr. O is perhaps best known in his field for helping make what’s known as RF CMOS the technology of choice for the billions of cell-phone chips now in use. He has also helped expand the application of CMOS semiconductor technology by demonstrating its capability at ever-increasing frequencies, and his research group currently holds the record for the highest operating frequency for transistor circuits.

Dr. O received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. He is pursuing work funded by TI, SRC, the U.S. Army Research Office, Toyota and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.


Media Contacts: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Dr. Ken O

Dr. Kenneth O will lead the Texas Analog Center of Excellence, a $16 million project announced last year by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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