Zheng Zhang wants to make the manufacturing of semiconductor chips more reliable.

Mahnoosh Alizadeh hopes to increase the levels of wind and solar energy in the power grid.

The awards include up to $500,000 in funding to pursue cutting-edge research and advance excellence in education through the NSF Faculty Early Career Development program.

Through uncertainty-aware design automation, Zhang and his students hope to make semiconductor manufacturing more efficient and the products more consistent.

"The short-term goal is to develop efficient algorithms to model, verify and optimize the uncertain performance of an electronic or photonic chip before it's being fabricated," said Zhang, who joined UCSB's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in July 2017.

"Quantifying uncertainty is essential for autonomous systems because they need to make smart decisions in order to operate successfully despite variables like traffic, weather and noisy sensor data," said Zhang, who since joining UC Santa Barbara also has earned the Best Paper Award from IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, and the Best Conference Paper Award from IEEE's Electrical Performance of Electronic Packing and Systems.

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