His Integrated Approach to Research, Education and Industry Innovations and collaborations Revolutionized Electronics Packaging Field
Rao R. Tummala, a researcher and educator who has made seminal contributions to microelectronics packaging and whose educational efforts have defined the field, is being honored by IEEE with the 2011 IEEE Field Award in Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technologies. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.
The award, sponsored by the IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Society, recognizes Tummala for pioneering and innovative contributions to package integration research, cross-disciplinary education and globalization of electronic packaging. The award will be presented on 2 June 2011 at the IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Electronics packaging deals with enclosing large numbers of integrated circuits in a single module using materials such as metals, plastics and ceramics. Modern packaging technologies allow for denser circuits and multichip packages that enable ultraminiaturized consumer electronics and ultra-high-performance computing systems. The goal of “Systems on a Package” (SOP) is to provide a module that can sense, communicate, provide power and process information all in a small package. Two paths have emerged over the last three decades for high performance computing and consumer systems—on- chip integration by system- on- chip, and package integration by 2D and 3D multichip modules.
Tummala’s contributions began during his 25-year career at IBM with pioneering inventions such as the industry’s first plasma display and the first (and next three generations of) multichip packaging based on ceramics and polymer-copper thin-film interconnections. His Low-Temperature, Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) technology resulted in the first 100-chip multichip module. After moving to the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga., Tummala introduced the SOP concept. SOP provides high functionality in a small size yet at low cost compared to the traditional systems on bulky boards.
At the Georgia Institute of Technology, Tummala provided leadership in making packaging an “academic subject “by means of courses, curricula, textbooks and degrees. His proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1993 resulted in the establishment of the first NSF Engineering Research Center in the United States Georgia Institute of Technology, demonstrating for the first time an integrated and comprehensive approach to leading-edge research, cross-disciplinary education and global industry collaborations, and technology transfer programs. Considered the “Bible of Packaging,” his Microelectronics Packaging Handbook (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1989) defined packaging for the first time and introduced its cross-disciplinary nature of science and technology to the academic community. As president of the IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Society from 2001 to 2004, Tummala was instrumental in broadening the Society’s global reach.
An IEEE Fellow and IBM Fellow, Tummala is also a member of National Academy of Engineering. He received 16 Technical Innovation Awards and nine Invention Awards from IBM. Other awards include the IEEE David Sarnoff Award, IEEE Third Millennium Medal and IEEE Major Education Medal. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and a doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Tummala is currently an endowed chair professor and director of the 3D Systems Packaging Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology.