Ruby B. Lee

Forrest G. Hamrick Professor in Engineering and
Professor of Electrical Engineering
Ph.D. 1980, Stanford University

We are interested in defining new computer architectures for the Information Age, targeted at emerging information-processing paradigms rather than existing ones. Our current research focus is on architecture with integrated optimizations for multimedia information-processing and secure information-processing.

Computers will soon be everywhere yet invisible. Network-ready, programmable processors will be in every communications device, entertainment device, appliance, and computer. Our research involves defining new processor, platform, and infrastructure architectures for this broader class of Internet-controllable, programmable information machines. We strive for highly functional, flexible, and minimalist architecture.

We expect multimedia information-processing to occupy a very significant part of the processor's workload, as digital telephones, televisions, displays, printers, and computers all begin to incorporate similar programmable processors and platforms. We are interested in defining the most efficient, innovative instruction-set architecture techniques for multimedia information-processing, based on understanding or projecting the needs of present and future multimedia algorithms. These architectural techniques can be used to define new blueprints for future media processors, coprocessors, and multimedia-enhanced microprocessors. Our emphasis is on an integrated architecture for accelerated processing of all multimedia datatypes, including images, video, graphics, animation, voice, telephony, music, and text. We will extend our work in subword-parallel architectures with general-purpose subword permutation operations, novel multimedia arithmetic, automatic compilation techniques, and parallel programming techniques. We are also interested in multimedia content: discovering "storytelling" techniques that provide content-rich multimedia information, commensurate with the number of bytes needed for storage.

Ubiquitous secure information-processing is necessary before we can truly realize the potential of global internetworking for e-commerce, e-business, e-publishing, e-training, extranet collaboration, virtual private networks, and global villages. Our research involves radical acceleration of software cryptography to facilitate the widespread adoption of secure information techniques. We are pursuing integrated encryption techniques that combine privacy and anonymity concurrently with piracy- and tamper-detection mechanisms. Our focus includes new technologies for intellectual property protection of multimedia information disseminated via the Internet. We are interested in security architectures at the enterprise, platform, and processor levels.

We would also like to explore improved paradigms of human-to-human and human-to-information interactions in cyberspace by working with sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, and economists. We are especially interested in exploiting the "location independence" feature provided by cyberspace, to improve the productivity of team interactions across multiple sites, and the effectiveness of multimedia training.


Prior to joining the Princeton faculty in September 1998, Lee had seventeen years of experience as a practicing computer architect in processor, multimedia, and security architectures at Hewlett-Packard, California. She was chief architect of both the multimedia architecture and security architecture teams. Key technical contributions include the HP PA-RISC architecture, the first single-chip CMOS PA-RISC microprocessor, MAX --the first multimedia instructions for general-purpose processors, the industry's first software real-time MPEG video decoder product, and the Intel-HP IA-64 EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) architecture. She also served as consulting professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University and holds over 110 U.S. and international patents.