School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Frank Burns

Guest Member of Staff


Frank received a B.Eng. (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Newcastle University in 1987. His PhD was in Computer Aided Design and verification of VLSI circuits from Newcastle University in 1991.

For his PhD, Frank applied formal methods to the correct synthesis of VLSI circuits.  For VLSI synthesis an interactive interface was constructed to explore time and area trade-offs. This used a novel high level synthesis approach. The circuits were subsequently verified using the Boyer Moore theorem prover.

Since then Frank has worked as a Research Associate on a number of R & D projects, including:
  • BESST - a project centred on hardware datapath and control synthesis for systems on chips
  • SCREEN - a project centred on security for hardware using circuit balancing techniques
  • SURE - a project targeted towards developing hardware for secure systems using solutions based on higher radix
  • VARMA - a project to develop a tool to investigate the effects of process variability on nanotechnology devices
  • UNCOVER - Frank investigated the causality of deadlocks in Intel's xMAS communication circuits using Structured Occurrence Nets (SONs). The development for this has taken place inside Newcastle's Workcraft framework (
Frank's current research interests include formal models (xMAS), security, hardware modelling, analysis, verification and metastability.