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Jacob, Bruce

Bruce Jacob
1333 A.V. Williams Building
Lab Description: 

Research Interests 

Dr. Jacob's research interests are in the areas of memory systems, embedded systems, circuit integrity, and memory management. The objective of his research is to build hardware/software systems that improve the performance, cost, reliability, real-time behavior (e.g. predictability), and/or power consumption of computer systems relative to existing designs. The techniques he uses include system modeling and simulation, in which one builds a computer program that emulates the behavior of the system under observation, and physical   prototyping as well (his group has become quite adept at building experimental chips).

The memory systems projects include the analysis of DRAM architectures for improved memory-system performance, which is one of   the first in-depth comparisons of different DRAM technologies. This research looks at both the DRAM architecture level (i.e. DRAM   interfaces and protocols) and the DRAM system level (i.e. bus   organizations and scheduling of transactions) and aims to reduce the gap between processor and memory performance.   He is writing a 900-page textbook on memory-systems design for Morgan-Kaufmann, due to be   out Spring 2006.

The embedded systems projects include the development of real-time mechanisms at the microarchitecture level and the re-design of a real- time operating system to take advantage of the novel mechanisms. In this work, real-time operating systems are run on top of simulated   hardware to find low-power and high-resolution mechanisms in both hardware and software. This work also encompasses dynamic mechanisms for managing memory with real time guarantees and novel interrupt mechanisms that better suit the behavior of out-of-order processors. This work in architectures for real-time processing should speed up real-time systems significantly and allow systems with even moderate processing power to make tight deadline requirements.

The circuit-integrity projects include studying the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) on digital systems, developing EMI-mitigation technologies, studying thermal effects on digital systems, and looking at system-on-chip issues. These studies include the design and fabrication of real chips and PCBs to observe and measure phenomena and experimentally test models and proposed theories of behavior.


Bruce Jacob is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his Ars Baccalaureate, cum laude, in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1988, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1995 and 1997, respectively. In addition to his academic credentials, he has extensive experience in industry: he designed real-time embedded applications and real-time embedded architectures in the area of telecommunications for two successful startup companies: Boston Technology (now part of Comverse Technology) and Priority Call Management (now part of Schlumberger). At Priority Call Management he was employee number 2, the system architect, and the chief engineer. He built the first working prototype of the company's product, and he built and installed the first actual product as well. In academic research, Jacob was responsible for the cache and memory-management design of the DARPA-funded PUMA processor, which demonstrated the viability of software-managed caches for use in general-purpose systems. His work in advanced DRAM architectures is   the first comparative evaluation of today's memory technologies, and he recently received the prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for this research. He has authored papers on a wide range of topics, including computer architecture and memory systems, low-power embedded systems, electromagnetic interference and circuit integrity, distributed computing, astrophysics, and algorithmic composition.


  • A.B. Mathematics, Harvard University
  • M.S. Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan

Honors and Awards 

  • Clark School of Engineering Keystone Professor (2006)
  • IBM Shared University Research Award (2005)
  • University of Maryland Award for Teaching Excellence (2004)
  • University of Maryland Award for Teaching Excellence (2004)
  • Tenure Awarded (2003)
  • University of Maryland "Rainmaker" (2001)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2000)
  • ECE Department George Corcoran Award (1999)

Related News 

Srivastava is PI; Jacob co-PI for NSF "Unified Framework for 3D CPU Co-Simulation" grant
Research will allow the co-simulation of power, performance and reliability characteristics. September 8, 2016

ECE Faculty Earn Promotions
Professors Jacob, Martins, Peckerar, Ulukus, and Wu are approved to receive new faculty appointments, effective July 1. May 17, 2011

ECE Helps Maryland Day Go Green, Welcomes Crowd of Over 97,000 Visitors
ECE Director of Technical Operations Bryan Quinn and the MESA project powered exhibits with solar energy. May 2, 2011

ECE Undergrads Honored
ECE undergraduate students were recognized for outstanding academic performance. May 2, 2011

Jacob Part of Research Team Awarded DARPA UHPC Grant
Researchers to develop supercomputer prototype systems for High Performance Computing program. August 22, 2010

ECE Celebrates 12th Annual Maryland Day
More than 55,000 visitors attended Maryland Day despite the threat of rain. April 29, 2010

Jacob Introduces New Guitar Technology
Electric guitars developed by ECE professor, students, expand sound range and control. July 7, 2009

ECE Celebrates 11th Annual Maryland Day
Over 75,000 attended University's largest event of the year. April 27, 2009

ECE Faculty Honored at Inaugural Scholarship & Research Celebration
Twenty-seven ECE faculty members honored, representing 1/8 of researchers recognized university-wide. May 2, 2008

ECE Celebrates 10th Annual Maryland Day
ECE students add racing robots and electric melodies to Maryland Day festivities. April 28, 2008