Kenneth M. Zick



Research Topics: quantum computer engineering; enhanced quantum annealing; adaptive reconfigurable computing

Ken Zick's research focuses on uncovering and understanding the hidden physical nature of advanced integrated circuits, such that we can build and achieve better systems. Phenomena of interest include undocumented component variations, difficult to simulate effects, and a wide range of anomalies. The research often involves novel sensor designs, characterization methodologies and empirical measurement studies. The work started in the context of conventional reconfigurable fabrics (FPGAs); more recently, he has been exploring real-world quantum annealing. Zick has developed a diagnostic suite for D-Wave quantum annealers that runs daily on a 512-qubit machine housed at USC ISI. Additional areas include hardware trust & security, and fault-tolerant/space-based computing (e.g. with NASA's SpaceCube).

Latest publication:

Zick, K. M. et al. Experimental quantum annealing: case study involving the graph isomorphism problem. Sci. Rep. 5, 11168; doi: 10.1038/srep11168 (2015).

Ph.D., Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas
B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan

Prior to his Ph.D. studies as a four-year NASA Graduate Student Fellow, he gained 12 years of experience and three patents in advanced chip design for IBM, Cyrix Corp., and Motorola.

Zick has served as a Professorial Lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he has taught a graduate course in Embedded Systems (ECE 6140, Fall 2011).

A list of publications is available, along with full versions of selected papers.