IEEE Electronics Packaging Award Becomes IEEE Rao R. Tummala Electronics Packaging Award

During its November 2020 meeting, the IEEE Board of Directors approved renaming the IEEE Electronics Packaging Award, an IEEE Technical Field Award (TFA), in honor of a visionary in technology—Professor Rao R. Tummala. Tummala is Distinguished and Endowed Chair Professor at 3D Systems Packaging Research Center, Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Recognized as the father of modern packaging innovations that have revolutionized microelectronics packaging, Professor Tummala has provided unparalleled leadership in industry, academia, professional societies, packaging research, technology development, manufacturing, and products, as well as in education and in industry-academic collaborations.

The renamed award will be presented for the first time in 2022 to innovators around the world for their outstanding contributions to advancing components, electronic packaging, or manufacturing technologies.

Sponsored by the IEEE Electronics Packaging Award, the society partnered with IEEE Awards and the IEEE Foundation to endow and rename the award so that the lasting legacy of Professor Rao R. Tummala will continue through the work of the recipients of the IEEE Rao R. Tummala Electronics Packaging Award.

Professor Tummala’s contributions began during his 25-year career at IBM with pioneering developments such as the plasma display and 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, 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, 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 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.

A Fellow of IEEE, IMAPS, ACS, and IBM and Member of the National Academy of Engineering, Tummala received the 2011 IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Award “for pioneering and innovative contributions to package integration research, cross-disciplinary education and globalization of packaging.” 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.  

The technical field for this award includes all aspects of device and systems packaging, including packaging of microelectronics, optoelectronics, RF/wireless, and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). In the evaluation process, the following criteria are considered: enhancement of technology, impact on the relevant technical community and the profession, benefit to society, and the quality of the nomination. The IEEE Board of Directors will approve the 2022 IEEE Rao R. Tummala Electronics Packaging Award at its June 2021 meeting.