Professor Franklin, currently Ina Champ and Hugo F. Professor Engineering, has been at Washington University since 1970. He began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and shortly afterwards was given a joint appointment with the Department of Computer Science. He founded and was the Director of the Computer and Communications Research Center (CCRC). CCRC began as an interdepartmental research center (CS and EE) that focused on research problems at the interface between digital hardware, algorithms and software. These included research issues spanning computer architecture, networking/communications and performance evaluation. In 1994 he helped initiate the undergraduate degree program in Computer Engineering (with a home in CCRC) and became its Director. In 2000 he led the effort to obtain full ABET accreditation. With accreditation, the Computer Engineering program moved fully into the Department of Computer Science (the department's name was changed to Computer Science and Engineering, CSE) and Professor Franklin moved into that department.
Franklin has been an active researcher in the areas of computer architecture, parallel processing, systems performance evaluation, and VLSI design for more than 30 years. His interest in parallelism initially stemmed from efforts at modeling complex systems (from large environmental systems to large computer systems) in "reasonable" amounts of time. This led to more general investigations of parallel computer architectures, interconnection networks and algorithms tailored to fast solution of a host of computationally intensive problems. Other research has concerned problems in optical and electrical interconnection network design, clock distribution designs and issues associated with asynchronous design methods, and parallel processing techniques applied to logic and general discrete event simulation.
Currently he is investigating issues related to network processor and chip-multiprocessor (CMP) design and performance analysis. As part of this effort he developed (with T. Wolf) a benchmark of telecommunications oriented programs called CommBench. A major research effort, entitled "Storage Based Supercomputing for Scientific Applications" and supported by the National Science Foundation, is underway to explore new approaches to processing high bandwidth streaming data derived from disk and sensor arrays. Hybrid pipelined architectures including FPGAs, processors, CMPs, and ASICS are being explored as solutions to a variety of streaming data processing problems. To aid in developing such architectures a design tool, AutoPipe, is being developed that will permit specification, evaluation, and automatic deployment (on selected platforms) of such hybrid systems.
Franklin is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Missouri and an IEEE fellow. He is a former Chair of the IEEE TCCA (Technical Committee on Computer Architecture) and for five years prior to that he was Vice Chair of ACM SIGARCH (Association of Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture). Franklin consults with industry and has served as an expert witness on computer related patent issues. He also acts as a grant/contract/paper reviewer for government agencies and various professional publications.