“Dr. Mike” is an electrical engineer at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. specializing in the physical layout design of Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits. He earned Electrical Engineering degrees at Carnegie Mellon, UC-Berkeley, and UC-San Diego.
Michael relocated from Baltimore, MD to San Diego, CA in 1983 to join M/A-COM Linkabit, Inc. where he designed, built, and tested the first Multi-User Viterbi Decoder (rate=1/2, K=7) stitchcards. On July 24, 1984, he carried the Olympic Torch for 1 km through the streets of San Diego on behalf of Linkabit prior to the LA Olympics.
While and after earning his PhD at UC San Diego in 1993, he was employed at several small microchip design companies in “The Golden Triangle.” In June 2010 he graduated with an MBA from UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management. In July 2011, the startup he had joined (Rapid Bridge LLC) was acquired by Qualcomm. Dr. Alston is now a Senior Staff Engineer in Qualcomm’s Central Engineering Technology Group. He verifies the physical layout design and performs Quality Assurance on VLSI circuit IP.
During his career as an engineer, he has worked as a member of a team of engineers to complete the physical layout design of many different of VLSI circuits, such as a multi-threading out-of-order execution microprocessor, an optical transceiver, HyperTransport PHY, PCI Express PHY, USB2.0 PHY Interfaces, and most recently the PHY and CC layout designs of the DDR interface for Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
Dr. Mike serves on the Board of The Gateways Summer School, is a founding board member of the University City Community Foundation, and distributes monthly newsletters for the University City Community Association. He occasionally tutors local students in math or physics, and enjoys promoting “The Power of Two Cards” to help students understand binary. For fun and exercise, Michael plays soccer, basketball, volleyball, and looks forward to competing in a few track & field events at the local Senior Olympics held at Mesa College each September.