Center for Alternative Sustainable and Intelligent Computing Kicks Off

February 20, 2019

In a new Duke-led consortium, industry, university, and government agencies converge to accelerate cognitive computing research 

ASIC group stands on stairs in Chesterfield building

More than 70 industry representatives, faculty members, students and NSF program managers attended ASIC

The Center for Alternative Sustainable and Intelligent Computing (ASIC), a National Science Foundation Industry–University Cooperative Research Center headquartered at Duke University, kicked off last week with its first meeting, at the university’s Chesterfield building in downtown Durham. The launch brought together 23 delegates from 14 organizations that are invested—literally as well as figuratively—in the cognitive computing technologies being developed by ASIC’s three partnering research universities: Duke, Syracuse University and the University of Notre Dame. 

The center is directed by Duke ECE associate professors Yiran Chen, Hai “Helen” Li and Benjamin Lee.

“Machine learning and neural networks are truly impacting the world in broad ways,” said Ravi Bellamkonda, the Vinik Dean of Engineering at Duke University, in his opening remarks to the center’s members. “There is enormous potential for this technology, and you are here to realize it.” 

Over the course of the two-day meeting, ASIC’s directors and their students proposed projects within the center’s three main research thrusts:  efficient neural network design, computing platforms and architecture, and efficient applications of neural networks. Attending members then voted for the projects that would bring the most benefit to their organizations; the winning projects, which focused on AI computing technologies, applications for edge computing, autonomous cars, network compression, and spiking neural networks, got a green light to proceed, with support from ASIC. 

“We’re very proud that we have this center here,” said Duke Electrical and Computer Engineering department chair Krishnendu Chakrabarty. “We have built this unique research ecosystem that involves the NSF, the Air Force, the Army, private companies, and major research universities. This center will be a magnet that draws even more star faculty to Duke and ECE.” 

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