Leading research in next-generation computing and communication
In the film Her, Theodore Twombley (Joaquin Phoenix) tells his virtual assistant Samantha (Scarlett Johannsen) that she sounds very human for what he thinks is only the synthesized voice of an operating system. “I can understand how the limited perspective of an unartificial mind might perceive it that way,” she quips. “You’ll get used to it.”
Computers--especially the concept of artificial intelligence--are developing at such an exponential rate that this scenario is now completely plausible. They are already a crucial component in our lives. We work through them, play through them, communicate through them, date through them, shop through them, and much more. There is a continuous hunger for faster processing speeds, improved computational power, tighter security, and larger storage capacity. The next generation is here. SUNY researchers are at the leading edge of these rapid developments, be it in materials, devices, systems, manufacturing processes and the engineering of computers that will alter how we interact, travel, conduct financial transactions and treat illnesses.
Neuromorphic computing is a concept that involves designing digital systems to mimic the biological structure of the nervous system. One example is the paradigm of computer processing and memory functions, which have long been considered separate. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Nate Cady has changed that. He was recently awarded a $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will fund his development of nanoscale computer chip switches called “memristors” that mimic the function of neuronal synapses in the human brain. Memristors combine processing and memory functions in one place, speeding computation and saving energy. This grant will also help support student opportunities
Everyone has had a frustrating moment logging onto their smartphone. Xiaojun Bi, an assistant professor of Computer Science in the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, has won a Google Research Award for his proposal to investigate gesture-based authentication for smartphones. His research will explore gesture typing, what is becoming a common text entry method for smartphone authentication. Instead of a PIN or a pattern locker, the gesture method involves users gliding their finger over numbers or letters. Another option will use an invisible keypad. “Google’s support will not only boost research in my lab, but also provide opportunities for us to generate broader and greater impact,” says Bi.
Quantum computing has long been a dream of computer scientists. The concept applies the principles of quantum mechanics to computing. Bits are the building block of standard computing, with each bit either a 1 or a 0. Essentially, bits provide a series of yeses and nos that tell a computer what to do. The basis of quantum computing--the qubit--is a marriage of 1 and 0, which allows for enough condensation so that the more qubits employed, the more exponential the power of the computer.
Through a collaboration between Stony Brook University graduate student Tatiana Konstantinova and Brookhaven National Laboratory, researchers are studying the flow of energy through superconductors to help create materials for high speed quantum computers. The basis of the research are the powerful, fleeting phenomena found in copper oxides, including high-temperature superconductivity, that can help scientists engineer new, better-performing materials.
“This breakthrough offers direct, fundamental insight into the puzzling characteristics of these remarkable materials,” said Brookhaven Lab scientist Yimei Zhu, who led the research. “We already had evidence of how lattice vibrations impact electron activity and disperse heat, but it was all through deduction. Now, finally, we can see it directly.”
Big data is a big deal, especially in the medical field. Medical devices are producing billions of bytes of data every day, and these numbers require advance number crunching capabilities. The University at Buffalo Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and Health Sciences (UB CAT) is one of 15 designated New York State Centers of Excellence. The center offers cost-sharing grants to fund industry-university collaborations in big data and health sciences arenas. Through use of these grants, New York health sciences companies working with big data have access through UB to funding, expertise, equipment, and discount rates on services and supplies to aid in the commercialization process.
The worldwide “arms race” to develop powerful Artificial Intelligence is going full tilt. The University at Buffalo Artificial Intelligence Institute (UBuffalo.AI) is exploring how to synthesize machines’ superior ability to ingest and process information with the human ability to select, analyze and strategize, in hope of inspiring dynamic human-machine collaboration. The Institute brings educators and researchers into an interdisciplinary environment to create breakthroughs in the creation of machine-based or hybrid systems that can address complex cognitive tasks.
The microelectronics industry is experiencing a phase of incredible growth, which will impact the development of artificial intelligence and create challenges and offer solutions in fields ranging from electronics infrastructure to medicine to technology and environmental issues. The Binghamton University (BU) Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP) unites experts from industry and the University to address pressing real-world problems in the systems integration and manufacturing of electronics. The various research centers focus on issues in electronics packaging, flexible electronics, energy-efficient data centers and energy harvesting and storage. S3IP has been a New York State Center of Excellence for a decade now, and its research centers have combined to create over a billion dollars in economic impact in New York State.
To develop the Centers of Excellence, over $1.4 billion has been committed by New York State and its industrial partners. The five centers specialize in nanoelectronics, photonics, bioinformatics, information technology and environmental systems. These centers combine to create a comprehensive, collaborative nanotechnology commercialization dynamo.
The SUNY Poly Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology (CENN) at SUNY Poly CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex is a fully-integrated technology deployment, product development, manufacturing support, and workforce training resource for the next phase of integrated circuitry. The many nanoelectronics-based products being developed at the center range from leading-edge microprocessor chips to advanced nano-based "systems-on-a-chip,” including biochips to photonics devices and nanosensors for energy and the environment.
The needs of evolving computer technology range from materials to devices to operating systems to manufacturing processes. SUNY researchers are working at powerfully-equipped university centers to developing faster, lighter, cheaper and more efficient computers, components and sensors that will change the face of the human world, be it Nate Cady’s marriage of memory and processing, Tatiana Konstantinova’s exploration of fundamental interactions in functional materials or Xiaojun Bi’s work with gesture-based authentication. Thanks to the work of these scientists, the next generation is here.
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