The origins of CRNCH date to 2012 when I co-founded the IEEE Rebooting Computing Initiative (RCI) with Elie Track. RCI’s goal is to find fundamentally different ways to compute, from the languages and system software down to the individual circuit devices. In the intervening years, RCI has influenced federal policy for funding research and created a community of like-minded researchers.
In late 2015, my colleagues at Georgia Tech and I reflected on the success of RCI. We wanted to bring that success to Georgia Tech and establish the Institute as the leading place for this new approach to computing. With my colleagues, Professors David Bader, Rich DeMillo, Dick Lipton, and Marilyn Wolf, we launched the Center for Research into Novel Computing Hierarchies (CRNCH). Today more than 30 faculty actively participate in CRNCH.
Why did we choose “Computing Hierarchies” in the center’s title instead of “Computing Hardware?” We understood that solutions should be driven by applications, the software stack, architectures, and even to novel switching devices — the whole hierarchy of computing. We already had deep expertise at Georgia Tech across the computing and electrical engineering disciplines in applications, algorithms, architecture, and devices. To further shore up the software side, Professor Vivek Sarkar, a renowned expert in compilers and software aspects of high-performance computing, assumed the role of co-director in 2018.
CRNCH is a novel approach to a daunting problem: how to overcome the limits of the technologies we’ve traditionally used to build computing devices, especially in the rapidly approaching post-Moore’s law era. The researchers involved with CRNCH form a highly interactive core. Idea exchange across specialties is our specialty. One cornerstone of CRNCH is the CRNCH Rogues Gallery, a collection of experimental hardware that we test, port software to, and give feedback to vendors. Jeff Young and Jason Riedy co-lead the Rogues Gallery. This facility receives strong support from both industry and government agencies with more details later in this brochure. New interdisciplinary research projects rely on CRNCH and the Rogues Gallery to hit the ground running, including our new DDARING project in the DARPA Software Defined Hardware program and multiple NSF projects.
We look forward to an exciting future for CRNCH as it realizes our vision for computing in the post-Moore era.