Analog integrated circuit design educator gets 2011 IEEE Donald O. Pederson Award

Willy Sansen is an engineering educator known for research, education and industry contributions related to analog integrated circuit design. IEEE honored Sansen with the 2011 Donald O. Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits.


Willy Sansen, considered by many to be one of the most prolific engineering educators in Europe for his research, education and industry contributions related to the field of analog integrated circuit design, has been honored by IEEE with the 2011 IEEE Donald O. Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits. IEEE said it is the world’s largest professional association advancing technology.

The award, sponsored by the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, recognizes Sansen for leadership in analog integrated circuit design. The award was presented on February 21, 2011, at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, Calif.

Despite digital circuits occupying most of the chip space in today’s electronics, the importance of analog circuits continues to grow. They are needed to help the digital world communicate with the real word. Sansen’s efforts in research, education and cooperation with industry have impacted the analog integrated circuit design field worldwide. At the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Sansen grew his research group (ESAT-MICAS) focusing on the design of analog integrated circuits into one of Europe’s largest and best known. Designs originating from his group have been incorporated by companies worldwide for use in chips for wireless communications, consumer electronics and sensors for cochlear implants and telemetry systems.

Sansen’s 30-plus years of research includes many important papers covering such topics as analog device properties, computer-aided design, sensor interfaces/readout electronics for biomedical applications, low-power amplifiers and analog-to-digital converters. Sansen was one of the pioneers of using computer tools for symbolic analysis of circuits. Symbolic analysis provides greater insight during the design process compared to the purely numerical analysis methods previously used.

Reportedly known for excellence in teaching and the ability to inspire his students, Sansen is the author and co-author of 15 books and has taught numerous short courses and workshops.  The doctorate students he has mentored have become leaders in their own right, holding highly regarded positions in both industry and academia around the world.  His collaborative efforts with industry have resulted in successful spin-off companies in the areas of design automation, radio-frequency design, sensor design and hardware design.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Sansen is a Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation and a recipient of the IEEE Third Millennium Medal. He is a member of the executive and program committees of the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, serving as program chair for the 2002 Conference, and is past president of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and a doctorate degree in electronics from the University of California, Berkeley.  Sansen began his career at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1969 as a research assistant, serving as a full professor from 1980 to 2008, and is now a Professor Emeritus there.


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- Edited by Amanda McLeman, Control Engineering,

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