Deming Chen

Deming Chen
Deming Chen
  • Professor
  • Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering
(217) 244-3922
250 Coordinated Science Lab

For More Information


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, University of California at Los Angeles, 2005
  • B.S. Computer Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1995


Dr. Deming Chen obtained his BS in computer science from University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1995, and his MS and PhD in computer science from University of California at Los Angeles in 2001 and 2005 respectively. He worked as a software engineer between 1995-1999 and 2001-2002. He joined the ECE department of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 and has been a full professor in the same department since 2015. He is a research professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory and an affiliate professor in the CS department. His current research interests include reconfigurable computing, cloud computing, system-level and high-level synthesis, machine learning and IoT, and hardware security. He has given more than 150 invited talks sharing these research results worldwide.

Dr. Chen has been a technical committee member for a series of top conferences and symposia on EDA, FPGA, low-power design, and embedded systems design. He has also served as General or TPC Chair, Track Chair, Session Chair, Panelist, Panel Organizer, or Moderator for many of these conferences. He has been an associated editor for IEEE TCAD, ACM TODAES, IEEE TVLSI, ACM TRETS, IEEE TCAS-I and TCAS-II, IEEE Design & Test, IET Cyber-Physical Systems, JCSC, and JOLPE. He obtained the Achievement Award for Excellent Teamwork from Aplus Design Technologies in 2001, the Arnold O. Beckman Research Award from UIUC in 2007, the NSF CAREER Award in 2008, ten Best Paper Awards, a TCFPGA Hall-of-Fame paper award, and a few Best Poster Awards. He also received the ACM SIGDA Outstanding New Faculty Award in 2010, IBM Faculty Award in 2014 and 2015, and Google Faculty Award in 2020. In 2017 and 2019 respectively, he led a team to win the First Place Winner Award of DAC International System Design Contest. He is the Donald Willett Faculty Scholar and the Abel Bliss Professor of the Grainger College of Engineering, an IEEE Fellow, an ACM Distinguished Speaker, and the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Reconfigurable Technology and Systems (TRETS). He is the Director of the AMD-Xilinx Center of Excellence and the Hybrid Cloud Thrust Co-lead in the IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute. He has given a series of Keynote or Plenary speeches at various conferences. He is also included in the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent in 2008 and 2017 from UIUC.

Dr. Chen was involved in several startup companies. He implemented his published algorithm on CPLD technology mapping when he was a software engineer in Aplus Design Technologies, Inc. in 2001, and the software was exclusively licensed by Altera (now part of Intel) and distributed to many customers of Altera worldwide. He is one of the inventors of the xPilot High Level Synthesis package developed at UCLA, which was licensed to AutoESL Design Technologies, Inc. Aplus was acquired by Magma in 2003, and AutoESL was acquired by Xilinx in 2011. In 2016, he co-founded a new startup, Inspirit IoT, Inc.

Professional Highlights

  • New! ISDC: ISDC is a novel feedback-guided iterative system of difference constraints (SDC) scheduling algorithm for high-level synthesis (HLS). ISDC leverages subgraph extraction-based low-level feedback from downstream tools like logic synthesizers to iteratively refine HLS scheduling. Technical innovations include: (1) An enhanced SDC formulation that effectively integrates low-level feedback into the linear-programming (LP) problem; (2) A fanout and window-based subgraph extraction mechanism driving the feedback cycle; (3) A no-human-in-loop ISDC flow compatible with a wide range of downstream tools and process design kits (PDKs). Evaluation shows that ISDC reduces register usage by 28.5% against an industrial-strength open-source HLS tool. Available since 2024. Download:
  • NEW! PandoGen: An ability to forecast future viral individuals at the sequence level enables advance preparation by characterizing the sequences and closing vulnerabilities in current preventative and therapeutic methods. In this work, we explore, in the context of a viral pandemic, the problem of generating complete instances of undiscovered viral protein sequences, which have a high likelihood of being discovered in the future using protein language models. Our novel method, called PandoGen, trains protein language models towards the pandemic protein forecasting task. PandoGen combines techniques such as synthetic data generation, conditional sequence generation, and reward-based learning, enabling the model to forecast future sequences, with a high propensity to spread. Applying our method to modeling the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein sequence, we find empirically that our model forecasts twice as many novel sequences with five times the case counts compared to a model that is 30× larger. Our method forecasts unseen lineages months in advance. Available since 2024. Download:
  • New! AccShield: Machine learning accelerators such as the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) are already being deployed in the hybrid cloud, and we foresee such accelerators proliferating in the future. In such scenarios, secure access to the acceleration service and trustworthiness of the underlying accelerators become a concern. In this work, we present AccShield, a new method to extend trusted execution environments (TEEs) to cloud accelerators which takes both isolation and multi-tenancy into security consideration. We demonstrate the feasibility of accelerator TEEs by a proof of concept on an FPGA board. Experiments with our prototype implementation also provide concrete results and insights for different design choices related to link encryption, isolation using partitioning and memory encryption, etc. Available since 2023. Download:
  • New! NimBlock: This project focuses on enabling virtualization features to facilitate fine-grained FPGA sharing. We employ an overlay architecture which enables arbitrary, independent user logic to share portions of a single FPGA by dividing the FPGA into independently reconfigurable slots. We then explore scheduling possibilities to effectively time- and space-multiplex the virtualized FPGA. The Nimblock scheduling algorithm balances application priorities and performance degradation to improve response time and reduce deadline violations. We achieve up to 5.7× lower average response times when compared to a no-sharing and no-virtualization scheduling algorithm and up to 2.1× average response time improvement over competitive scheduling algorithms that support sharing within our virtualization environment. Available since 2023. Download:
  • NEW! ScaleHLS+HIDA: ScaleHLS is a High-level Synthesis (HLS) framework on MLIR. ScaleHLS can compile HLS C/C++ or PyTorch model to optimized HLS C/C++ in order to generate high-efficiency RTL design using downstream tools, such as AMD Vitis HLS. By using the MLIR framework that can be better tuned to particular algorithms at different representation levels, ScaleHLS is more scalable and customizable towards various applications coming with intrinsic structural or functional hierarchies. Working with a set of neural networks modeled in PyTorch, ScaleHLS-generated hardware designs provide up to 3825x higher performances compared to the baseline designs that do not contain pragma directives and are only optimized by Xilinx Vivado HLS. Furthermore, HIDA (ScaleHLS 2.0) achieves an 8.54x higher throughput on average compared to that of ScaleHLS. Meanwhile, despite being fully automated and able to handle various applications, HIDA achieves a 1.29x higher throughput over DNNBuilder, a state-of-the-art RTL-based neural network accelerator on FPGAs. Available since 2022. (>3000 downloads.) Download:
  • NEW! PyLog: PyLog is a high-level, algorithm-centric Python-based programming and synthesis flow for FPGA. PyLog is powered by a set of compiler optimization passes and a type inference system to generate high-quality design. PyLog takes in Python functions, generates PyLog intermediate representation (PyLog IR), performs several optimization passes, including pragma insertion, design space exploration, and memory customization, etc., and creates the complete FPGA system design. PyLog also has a runtime that allows users to run the PyLog code directly on the target FPGA platform without any extra code development. Available since 2021. Download:
  • NEW! HELLO: HELLO is a new DNA variant calling tool, where we use novel DNN (Deep Neural Network) architectures and customized variant inference functions that account for the underlying nature of sequencing data. Our method allows vastly smaller DNNs to outperform the Inception-v3 architecture used in DeepVariant for indel and substitution-type variant calls. Our improved accuracy and problem-specific customization of DNN models could enable more accurate pipelines and further method development in the field. Available since 2021. Download:
  • SkyNet: SkyNet is a new hardware-efficient DNN model specialized in object detection and tracking. SkyNet was developed based on the SkyNet Design Methodology to facilitate edge AI solutions, and demonstrated in the 56th IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference System Design Contest (DAC-SDC), a low power object detection challenge for real-life unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications. SkyNet won the First Place Award for both GPU and FPGA tracks of the contest in 2019. Available since 2019. Download:
  • μL2Q: This open-source package introduces an ultra-low loss quantization (μL2Q) method that provides DNN quantization schemes based on comprehensive quantitative data analysis. μL2Q builds the transformation of the original data to a data space with standard normal distribution, and then finds the optimal parameters to minimize the loss of the quantization of a target bitwidth. Our method can deliver consistent accuracy improvements compared to the state-of-the-art quantization solutions with the same compression ratio. Download:
  • DNNBuilder (Open Source): This package provides a novel solution that can automatically convert the Caffe trained DNN to the FPGA RTL level implementation without involving any hardware programming effort. It also provides uniform APIs to the users for their AI recognition task. The developers, without any FPGA programming experience, can deploy their FPGA accelerated deep learning services for both cloud and edge computing, only by providing their trained Caffe models. The paper for DNNBuilder has won the IEEE/ACM William J. McCalla ICCAD Best Paper Award in 2018. Download:
  • Cloud-DNN (Open Source): A framework that maps DNN (deep neural network) models trained by Caffe to FPGAs in the cloud for inference acceleration. It takes the input *.prototxt DNN description, generates corresponding C++ network description, and then produces the final hardware accelerator IPs through high-level synthesis. The goal of Cloud-DNN is to provide more flexible and user-friendly DNN acceleration on cloud-FPGAs (e.g., AWS F1). Download:
  • RIP (Open Source): This open source project contains three inter-related software packages (fast software modeling, fast hardware modeling and design space exploration, and hardware/software co-design), for the ultimate task of automated hardware/software partitioning targeting either sophisticated SoC designs or computing on heterogeneous systems. The paper for fast hardware modeling and DSE embedded in this package has won the IEEE/ACM William J. McCalla ICCAD Best Paper Award in 2015. Download:
  • FCUDA (Open Source): A system-synthesis compiler to map GPU CUDA code to FPGA. Enable a common frontend language for heterogeneous compute platforms where FPGA and GPU co-exist. Low-power FPGA computing with comparable performance as GPU. FCUDA project has produced two Best Paper Awards for the conferences SASP'09 and FCCM'11. Download:
  • H.264 HLS Benchmark (Open Source): Fully synthesizable H.264 Video Decoder code, which can be synthesized into RTL with high-level synthesis for FPGA implementation and achieve real-time decoding. Download:
  • BLESS (Open Source): Bloom-filter-based Error Correction Solution for High throughput Sequencing Reads. Currently, the best DNA error correction tool in terms of quality and small memory usage. Available since January 2014. (More than 3000 downloads so far.) Download:
  • GNRFET HSPICE Model (Open Source): First parameterized HSPICE transistor compact models of two types of Graphene Nano-Ribbon Field-Effect Transistors, MOS-GNRFET and SB-GNRFET. Available at since July 2013. (More than 3000 downloads so far.) Download:

Research Statement

The spectacular CMOS technology scaling has created a large design productivity gap due to inherent design complexities and deep submicron issues. Development cost, including both the design cost and manufacturing cost, of integrated circuits has grown significantly given the increasing size of the design team and the lengthy design cycles. Meanwhile, intensive computational demands arising from emerging workloads, such as those in various IoT and deep-learning related domains, require new architecture and hardware designs, novel automated design flows, and efficient accelerator deployments both at the edge and in the cloud. In this context, the research group led by Prof. Chen mainly pursues the following research directions: system-level and high-level design automation, machine learning and cognitive computing, hybrid cloud, hardware/software co-design, and FPGA and GPU computing. The group recently is also pursuing several other research directions, such as computational genomics and hardware system security.

Graduate Research Opportunities

We are recruiting. If you are passionate about research, inspired for innovation and impact, determined to pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, and your research interests match one or more topics as listed in the "RESEARCH INTERESTS" section below, please contact Prof. Chen directly through email and attach your detailed CV.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

We are looking for committed and mature undergrad researchers for the following topics: FPGA and GPU computing, machine learning and hardware acceleration, high-level and system-level synthesis, and security in IoT and smart grid.

Research Interests

  • GPU optimization and GPU computing
  • Hardware/software co-design for SoC
  • Machine learning and hardware acceleration
  • Reconfigurable computing and FPGAs
  • Hardware security for smart IoT applications
  • System-level and high-level synthesis

Research Areas

  • Algorithms and computational complexity
  • Architecture, Compilers, and Parallel Computing
  • Computer aided design
  • Computer aided design of integrated circuits
  • Digital integrated circuits
  • Fault tolerance and reliability
  • Hardware verification and testing
  • Integrated circuit reliability
  • Logic design and VLSI
  • Nano-electronics and single electronics

Research Topics

  • Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence
  • Autonomous vehicular technology, UAVs
  • Bioelectronics and Bioinformatics
  • Cognitive computing
  • Computational science and engineering
  • Cyberinfrastructures
  • Cyberphysical systems and internet of things
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • Data science and analytics
  • Data/Information Science and Systems
  • Distributed computing and storage systems
  • Energy
  • Genomics
  • Machine learning
  • Machine vision
  • Nanomedicine and bio-nanotechnology
  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • Robotics
  • Smart grid and energy delivery
  • Smart infrastructures
  • Speech, language, and audio processing
  • Wearable and mobile computing


  • U.S. Patent Application No.: 18/328,716. Filing date: June 2023. Co-inventors: Bharat Sukhwani, Martin Ohmacht, Hubertus Franke, Sameh Asaad, Scott Smith, Deming Chen. Title: “Dynamic Assignment of Device Queues to Virtual Functions to Provide to Virtual Machines”.
  • U.S. Patent No.: 11,706,163. Issue date: July 2023. Co-inventors: Jian Huang, Deming Chen, Alexander Gerhard Schwing, Youjie Li. Title: “Accelerating Distributed Reinforcement Learning with In-switch Computing”.
  • Technology license: a company licensed the "Low Loss DNN Quantization Software" out of ADSC/UIUC in 2021. Co-inventors: Yao Chen, Deming Chen, Cong Hao.
  • Technology license: a company licensed the RASP technology out of UCLA, 2017. Co-inventors: Deming Chen, Jason Cong, Eugene Ding, Zhijun Huang, Yeanyow Hwang, Chang Wu, Sarah Xu. Title: RASP: FPGA/CPLD Technology Mapping and Synthesis Package.
  • Technology license: Inspirit IoT, Inc. licensed the VAST HLS technology out of ADSC/UIUC, 2016. Co-inventors: Deming Chen, Hongbin Zheng, Kyle Rupnow, Swathi Gurumani. Title: VAST: High-level Synthesis Tool.
  • Technology license: AutoESL Inc. licensed the xPilot technology out of UCLA, 2006. Co-inventors: Deming Chen, Jason Cong, Yiping Fan, Guoling Han, Wei Jiang, and Zhiru Zhang. Title: xPilot: A Platform-Based Behavioral Synthesis System. This technology eventually led to the acquisition of AutoESL by Xilinx. xPilot became the high-level synthesis engine of Xilinx Vivado HLS (high-level synthesis).
  • Patent No. 3304111. Issue date: Mar 11, 2020. Title: System-Level Validation of Systems-On-A-Chip (SOC). Co-inventors: Keith A. Campbell, Hai Lin, Deming Chen, and Subhasish Mitra.

Journal Editorships

  • Editor-in-Chief, ACM Transactions on Reconfigurable Technology and Systems (TRETS), 2019-2025
  • Guest Editor and main contact, Special Issue of IEEE Design & Test Magazine on Machine Intelligence at the Edge, 2018-2019
  • Lead Guest Editor, Special Issue of Integration, the VLSI Journal on Hardware Acceleration for Machine Learning, 2018-2019

Conferences Organized or Chaired

  • Founding General co-chair, the First IEEE International Workshop on LLM-Aided Design (LAD'24), June 2024
  • TPC Track chair, IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference (DAC), 2024
  • Technical Program Vice chair, IEEE/ACM International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD), 2024

Professional Societies

  • Vice President for Awards, IEEE Council on EDA, 2024-present
  • Member and Cohort FEC Representative, CEDA IEEE Fellow Evaluation Committee (FEC), 2024
  • Member, ACM SIGDA Outstanding New Faculty Award Committee, 2024
  • Chair, IEEE CEDA Fellow Evaluation Committee, 2023
  • Member, ACM SIGDA Outstanding New Faculty Award Committee, 2022
  • Chair, IEEE CEDA Fellow Evaluation Committee, 2022
  • Founding Chair, IEEE CEDA Central Illinois Chapter, 2016-2023

Service on Department Committees

  • ECE Named Appointments Committee, 2022-present
  • Chair, ECE Graduate Committee, 2020-2022
  • CE Area Chair, 2015-2017
  • CSL Policy and Planning Committee, 2008-2010, 2011-2012, 2014-2015, 2021

Service on College Committees

  • Hybrid Cloud Thrust Co-lead, IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute, 2021 - present
  • Chief Scientist, IBM-Illinois Center for Cognitive Computing Systems Research, 2020 - 2021
  • Steering Committee member, C-NICE center, Grainger College of Engineering, 2019 - present
  • Director, AMD/Xilinx Center of Excellence, 2020 - present
  • Representative of CSL on the College Executive Committee, 2016-2019

Service on Campus Committees

  • Senator, Faculty Senate, 2014-2016, 2018-2020, 2022-2024


  • Keynote Speaker, 31st Reconfigurable Architectures Workshop (RAW), 2024
  • Vice President for Awards, IEEE Council on EDA, 2024-present
  • Best Poster Award, ASPDAC, 2024
  • Best Poster and First Place Winner Award, DAC Ph.D. Forum, 2023
  • Chair, IEEE CEDA Fellow Evaluation Committee, 2022 & 2023
  • Distinguished Speaker, Distinguished Speaker Series, ECE, Northwestern University, 2022
  • Induction of the “FCUDA: Enabling efficient compilation of CUDA kernels onto FPGAs” paper into the TCFPGA Hall of Fame for FPGAs, 2022
  • Second Place Winner, System Design Contest at IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference, 2021
  • Best Paper Award, International Conference on Intelligent Data Engineering and Automated Learning, 2021
  • ACM SIGDA Distinguished Service Award, 2021
  • Keynote Speaker, International Conference on Intelligent Data Engineering and Automated Learning (IDEAL), 2021
  • Distinguished Speaker, Distinguished Speaker Series, Universidad Católica San Pablo, 2021
  • Google Faculty Award, for supporting machine learning courses, diversity and inclusion, 2020.
  • Keynote Speaker, IEEE International Conference on Field-Programmable Technology, 2020
  • Distinguished Speaker, Distinguished Speaker Series, ECE, Rice University, 2020
  • Keynote Speaker, ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI, 2020
  • Distinguished Speaker, Distinguished Speaker Series, ACM Sacramento Chapter, 2020
  • Keynote Speaker, ROAD4NN: Research Open Automatic Design for Neural Networks, 2020
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE International Conference on VLSI Design, 2020
  • Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering, 2020 - present
  • Keynote Speaker, Computing Conference, 2019
  • Editor-in-Chief, ACM Transactions on Reconfigurable Technology and Systems, 2019-2025
  • IEEE Fellow, 2019
  • ACM Distinguished Speaker, 2019-2022
  • First Place Winner, both the FPGA and the GPU categories, System Design Contest at IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference, 2019
  • Best Poster Award, Joint Workshop on On-Device Machine Learning & Compact Deep Neural Network Representations (ODML-CDNNR), 2019
  • Invited Distinguished Speaker, COOL Chips, 2019
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE/ACM Intl Conf on Computer-Aided Design, 2018
  • Keynote Speaker, International Conference on Big Data Analytics & Data Mining, 2018
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE/ACM Intl Workshop on System-Level Interconnect Prediction, 2018
  • Plenary Speech, IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, 2018
  • First Place Winner, Intl Hardware Design Contest, Design Automation Conf, 2017
  • Keynote paper, Integration, the VLSI Journal, 2017
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE/ACM Intl Conf on Computer-Aided Design, 2015
  • Keynote speech, IEEE International Conference on ASIC, 2015
  • Keynote speech, IEEE International Conference on Anti-counterfeiting, Security, and Identification, 2014
  • IBM Faculty Award, 2014 and 2015
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE Intl Conf on Hardware/Software Codesign and System Synthesis, 2013
  • Best Paper Award, Symp on Application Accelerators in High Performance Computing, 2011
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE Intl Symp on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines, 2011
  • ACM SIGDA Outstanding New Faculty Award, 2010
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE Symp on Application Specific Processors, 2009
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE/ACM Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conf, 2009
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2008
  • Arnold O. Beckman Research Award, UIUC, 2007
  • Achievement Award for Excellent Teamwork, Aplus Design Technologies, Inc, 2001

Teaching Honors

  • On the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Students, Spring 2008, Fall 2017

Public Service Honors

  • Founding Chair of IEEE CEDA chapter for Central Illinois (12/1/2016)

Recent Courses Taught

  • ECE 411 - Computer Organization & Design
  • ECE 479 (ECE 498 ICC, ECE 498 IL1, ECE 498 IL2, ECE 498 IL3, ECE 498 IL4) - IoT and Cognitive Computing
  • ECE 527 - System-On-Chip Design