Two EECS Professors Named Intel 2020 Outstanding Researchers

March 8, 2021

From left to right: Tomás Palacios and Jonathan Ragan-Kelley

Jane Halpern | Department of Engineering and Computer Science

Two EECS professors have been honored with the Intel 2020 Outstanding Researcher Awards. Tomás Palacios, Director of the 6-A MEng Thesis Program and Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Jonathan Ragan-Kelley, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor of EECS, were among the 18 researchers recognized on February 17th for their contributions advancing emerging innovative technologies.

Palacios was recognized for his work on Wide-Bandgap pFETs: Materials, Devices, and Circuits, conducted with Professors Debdeep Jena, Huili (Grace) Xing, and Alyosha Molnar of Cornell University (also recognized by the Intel Award). Of their work, the award organizers stated “the team seeks a high-performance wide-bandgap PMOS solution for use in RF, power electronics, or digital/analog applications. The team looks to provide a holistic pFET solution through materials innovations, device processing, fabrication, and testing, as well as the development of transport and device physics and compact models, circuit models, and demonstration.”

Tomás Palacios studied Electronics at the Polytechnic University of Madrid before receiving his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Palacios joined the Institute for Systems based on Optoelectronics and Microtechnology (ISOM) in Spain, before working in the Microelectronics Group of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN, Geneva) and then the University of California at Santa Barbara. A member of the MIT faculty since 2006, Palacios is affiliated with the Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL), where his research group works on advanced electronic devices based on new semiconductors; high frequency and high voltage electronics; high-temperature and ubiquitous or large-area electronics; digital electronics in a post-Si scenario; and new concepts for biosensors and energy harvesting devices.

Ragan-Kelley was recognized for work on Computer Assisted Programming for Heterogenous Architectures (CAPA), conducted with Professor Alvin Cheung, of the University of California,  Berkeley (also honored with the Intel award). The award organizers stated, “Professors Cheung and Ragan-Kelley are developing ARION, a system for compiling programs onto heterogeneous platforms. The team will use verified lifting, which rewrites legacy code into a clean specification, stripping away optimizations that target legacy architectures. This spec, written in a DSL, can then be compiled to new platforms, sometimes with orders of magnitude of speedup in resulting code performance.”


Jonathan Ragan-Kelley received a PhD and an SM in EECS from MIT and a BS in computer science from Stanford University. He spent time as a postdoc at Stanford before spending a year as a visiting researcher at Google, and two and a half years as an assistant professor of EECS at UC Berkeley. He joined the faculty of MIT as an assistant professor of EECS in January 2020. Ragan-Kelley is affiliated with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), where his research focuses on computer graphics, compilers, domain-specific languages, and high-performance systems.