Ishan G. Thakkar (CV)
Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty of Cybersecurity Certificate Program, College of Engineering
Director, Unconventional Computing Architectures and Technologies (UCAT) Lab

Office Address:
215 Davis Marksbury Building
329 Rose St, Lexington, KY 40508 

Office Phone: +1 (859) 323-8424

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Bio: Ishan Thakkar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. He is the Director of the Unconventional Computing Architectures and Technologies (UCAT) Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, CO in 2018 and 2013, respectively. During his Ph.D. studies at CSU, he was a member of the Embedded Systems and High-Performance Computing (EPiC) Laboratory. His research broadly focuses on the design and optimization of unconventional (more than Moore) architectures and technologies for energy-efficient, reliable, and secure computing, for a wide scope of platforms including embedded systems, internet-of-things (IoT), and high-performance computing systems.

Honors: Dr. Thakkar is the recipient of the Best Paper Award from ACM GLSVLSI 2021, a Best Paper Award Nomination from IEEE ISVLSI 2021, the Best Paper Award Honorary Selection from ACM GLSVLSI 2020, the Best Paper Award from IEEE/ACM SLIP 2016 workshop, a Best Paper Nomination from the IEEE ISQED 2016 conference, and a Best Paper Finalist Selection from the IEEE TMSCS journal in 2015, for his research contributions. He is also the recipient of the Outstanding Reviewer Award from the CODES+ISSS Conference at ESWEEK 2022.

Service: He is currently an Associate Editor for the IEEE TCVLSI Newsletter. He serves in the ACM SIGDA Executive Team as the Social Media Chair. He has served as an Organizing Committee Member of IEEE/ACM conferences and workshops such as IEEE International Green and Sustainable Computing (IGSC) conference, IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Networks-on-Chip (NOCS), IEEE/ACM International Workshop on Network on Chip Architectures (NOCARC), and the Workshop on Computing with Unconventional Technologies (CUT). He is also on the Technical Program Committee of several international conferences such as IEEE/ACM DAC, IEEE/ACM CODES+ISSS conference, IEEE/ACM NOCS, IEEE/ACM NOCARC, ACM GLSVLSI, IEEE ISQED, IEEE RTAS, IEEE IGSC conference, IEEE EVLSID conference, and IEEE MCSoC conference. He has served as a reviewer for many journals, including IEEE TC, IEEE TVLSI, IEEE TCAD, IEEE TMSCS, ACM TECS, ACM JETC, ACM TODAES, Elsevier JPDC.

Open Positions

I am always looking for talented and self-motivated undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students to work in my lab. In particular, I am looking for students to work on projects related to silicon-photonic neuromorphic accelerators, in-memory computing architectures for machine learning, stochastic computing, and integrated silicon-photonic devices and circuits. More information can be found here.  

News Highlights

  • October 2023: I will be serving on a panel at the Languages and Compilers for Parallel Computing (LCPC) Conference 2023 on the Evolution of Parallel Architecture Targets. My position on the panel will highlight the evolving importance of compilers for unconventional computing architectures and technologies (In-DRAM, Electro-Photonic, and Disaggregated Computing Architectures). 
  • September 2023: UCAT lab receives a grant from NSF to fabricate and characterize polymorphic electro-optic logic gates and circuits
  • July 2023: UCAT lab receives a grant from DOE to do research on reservoir computing with artificial spin lattices. Find the announcement here
  • April 2023: Congratulations to Bobby for winning the Best M.S. Poster Award at the UK ECE's annual research symposium 2023.
  • April 2023: Congratulations to Sairam for winning the Best Ph.D. Poster Award at the UK ECE's annual research symposium 2023.
  • April 2023: Congratulations to Supreeth for successfully defending his PhD dissertation. 
  • October 2022: I received the Outstanding Reviewer Award from the CODES+ISSS conference at ESWEEK 2022
  • April 2022: Congratulations to Sairam for winning two Best Poster Awards at the UK ECE's annual research symposium 2022.
  • January 2022: Dr. Justin Woods from UK's KY Multiscale joins UCAT lab as a postdoctoral fellow to design and fabricate silicon nitride modulators in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory
  • November 2021: Congratulations to Chao-Hsuan for defending his MS thesis. He will join Infineon/Cypress to work on SRAM memory design.  
  • August 2021: I am invited to serve in the ACM SIGDA Executive Team as the Social Media Chair. 
  • August 2021: UCAT lab receives a grant from NSF to explore stochastic computing-based optical neural network accelerators.  
  • July 2021: Bobby's paper wins the Best Paper Award at ACM GLSVLSI 2021
  • June 2021: Supreeth's paper at IEEE ISVLSI 2021 is a Best Paper Award Nominee!
  • March 2021: I serve as an Associate Editor for the IEEE TCVLSI Newsletter! 
  • February 2021: I serve on the Editorial Board of Neuromorphic Engineering as Review Editor for Frontiers in Neuroscience.
  • January 2021: Congrats to Bobby Bose on receiving ECE Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF)!
  • September 2020: Our paper on approximate photonic NoCs wins Best Paper Award Honorable Selection at ACM GLSVLSI 2020!
  • September 2020: I serve on the Organizing Committee of IEEE/ACM NoCArc 2020 as a Panel Co-Chair. 
  • June 2020: I am invited to organize the Workshop on Computing with Unconventional Technologies at IEEE IGSC 2020.
  • April 2020: Bobby Bose joined UCAT Lab. Welcome!
  • September 2019: Praneeth, Chao-Hsuan, and Supreeth received travel awards to present their research at ESWEEK 2019. Congratulations!


Research Sponsors and Collaborators