Lui Sha

Lui Sha graduated with Ph.D. from CMU in 1985. He worked at the Software Engineering Institute from1986 to1998. He joined UIUC in 1998. Currently, he is Donald B. Gillies Chair Professor of Computer Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He led the research on real-time computing theory, which was cited as a major accomplishment in the selected accomplishment section of the 1992 National Academy of Science’s report, “A Broader Agenda for Computer Science and Engineering” (P.193). He led a comprehensive revision of IEEE standards on real-time computing to support the application of this work, which has since become the best practice in real-time computing systems. Later, he led the development of Complexity Reduction and Control architectures for dependable real-time systems, including Simplex architecture and Physically Asynchronous Logically Synchronous architecture.

He is a widely cited author in real-time and embedded computing community. His work has impacted many large scale high technology programs including GPS, Space Station, and Mars Pathfinder. Now it is widely used in system real-time constraints such as airplanes, robots, cars, ships, trains, medical devices, power generation plants and manufacturing plants.

In recent years, his team is developing the technologies for secure and certifiable multi-core avionics with aviation community and computational pathophysiology models for medical best practice guidance (“GPS”) systems with the medical community.


His Research impacts on National high technology projects include:

  • Global Positioning Satellite: Contributions to the worldwide navigation. “The navigation payload software for the next block of Global Positioning System upgrade recently completed testing. …  This design would have been difficult or impossible prior to the development of rate monotonic theory”, L.  Doyle, and J. Elzey “Successful Use of Rate Monotonic Theory on A Formidable Real-Time System, technical report, p.1, ITT, Aerospace Communication Division, 1993.
  • International Space Station: “Through the development of Rate Monotonic Scheduling, we now have a system that will allow [Space Station] Freedom’s computers to budget their time, to choose between a variety of tasks, and decide not only which one to do first but how much time to spend in the process”, Aaron Cohen, Deputy Administrator of NASA, October 1992 (p. 3), Charting The Future: Challenges and Promises Ahead of Space Exploration.
  •  Mars Pathfinder:  “When was the last time you saw a room of people cheer a group of computer science theorists for their significant practical contribution to advancing human knowledge? 🙂  It was quite a moment.  … For the record, the paper was L. Sha, R. Rajkumar, and J. P. Lehoczky. Priority Inheritance Protocols: An Approach to Real-Time Synchronization. In IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 39, pp. 1175-1185, Sep. 1990.” reported by Dr. Michael Jones in 19.49.html

Honors and Awards

  • He is a co-recipient of IEEE Simon Ramo Medal, “for technical leadership and contributions to fundamental theory, practice, and standardization for engineering of real-time systems”, 2016.
  • He has been appointed by NASA Administrator Bolden to NASA Advisory Council’s  Aeronautics Committee, providing review and advice on NASA’s research programs, 2015 to 2017.
  • He was a member of National Academy of Science’s Committee on Certifiably Dependable Software, 2005 to 2007
  • He was a member of National Foundation of Science’s CPS Initiative planning group that formulated and launched the CPS program.
  • He is a co-recipient of David Lubkowski Award “for the Advancement of Digital Avionics, 2009.”
  • He is a fellow of the ACM “for contributions to real-time systems”, 2005.
  • He was an IEEE Distinguished Visitor, 2005 – 2007.
  • He was awarded for Outstanding Technical Contributions and Leadership in Real-Time Systems, IEEE Technical Committee on Real-Time Systems, Dec. 2001.
  •  He was Chair of IEEE Real-Time Systems Technical Committee from 1999-2000.
  •  He is a Fellow of the IEEE, “for technical leadership and research contributions which enabled the transformation of real-time computing practice from an ad hoc process to an engineering process based on analytic methods.” 1998


Positions Available

  • Ph.D. and Postdoc positions
  • Part time jobs in the lab: software development and/or hardware device interfaces

 Research Projects

Low Complexity Real-Time Virtual Computer

National Academy of Science’s Committee on Certifiably Dependable Systems wrote, “One key to achieving dependability at a reasonable cost is a serious and sustained commitment to simplicity, including simplicity of critical functions and simplicity in system interactions. This commitment is often the mark of true expertise.  There is no alternative to simplicity. Advances in technology or development methods will not make simplicity redundant; on the contrary, they will give it greater leverage”.

A notable invention of our team in this area is the invention of Physically Asynchronous Logically Synchronous (PALS) architecture. Rockwell Collins Inc demonstrated in their lab that using PALS, the verification time using model checking time for a dual redundant flight control system has reduced from 35 hours to less than 30 seconds, winning the 2009 David Lubkowski Memorial Award for the Advancement of Digital Avionics from American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Running on top of PALS middleware, engineers can design, verify and run a networked (single core) real time control system as if it were a single core computer at the fastest possible speed permitted by the platform.

Our team has since invented Single Core Equivalence technology that allows engineers to use each core in a multicore computer as if it were a single core computer. This work has already gained support from academics, industry, and governments across US, Europe, and Asia. And we are in the process of creating the Virtual Single Core computer that will allow engineers to use a set of cores as if it were a higher schedulability single core computer.

Our goal is the create the Real-Time Virtual Computer that allows engineers to use a networked multicore control system as if it were a single core computer. The success of this project will impact the development of real-time systems ranging from avionics, automobiles,  IoT to smart cities.

 New Frontier: Medical “GPS” Systems
Preventable medical errors are a major challenge in healthcare. There are errors that could have been prevented if the medical best practice was correctly implemented. In 2014, preventable errors claimed the lives of some 400,000 people and cost the nation a colossal $1 trillion. Our goal is to reduce over 90% of preventable medical
errors by the creation of verifiably correct Executable Medical Best-practice Guidance systems.
  • Scientific Impact: Changing the representation of medical knowledge from informal natural language texts to executable formal representations in the form of networked organ automata and best practice automata. The precise and repeatable nature of formal representation removes errors from subjective interpretations and from memorization problems.
  • Clinical Impact: Like GPS-based navigation system that transformed transportation, Executable Best-practice Medical Guidance systems will fundamentally transform the implementation of medical best practices, with the rapid and consistent timing of medical interventions, prevent unintended deviation from standardized medical treatment guidelines, more accurate record keeping, and improved team situation awareness.

Currently, we have several on-going projects

  • Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Guidance Systems in cooperation with Dr. Karen White, Director of ICU at Carle Foundation Hospital. This system has approved for phase 1 of clinical trials at Carle’s ICU.
  • Sepsis Best Practice Guidance System in cooperation with Dr. Karen White, Director of ICU at Carle Foundation Hospital. This system has entered the late stage of design review
  • Heart Transplant Perioperative Guidance System with Dr. Jai Raman at Oregon Health and Science University. This system is still in the early R&D stage.

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