Duke Engineering Launches ‘Athena’ Center for AI and Edge Computing

November 19, 2021

The new center’s kickoff event featured a showcase of proposed edge computing projects

Exterior of Wilkinson Building

Athena is headquartered in Duke Engineering’s new Wilkinson Building

The AI Institute for Edge Computing Leveraging Next Generation Networks, or “Athena,” kicked off November 17-18 at Duke University with a showcase of proposed research. The new center, first announced in August 2021, is funded by a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and led by Duke professor of electrical and computer engineering Yiran Chen. Athena will leverage AI and edge computing technologies and next-generation networked systems in its quest to reimagine future mobile devices.

“AI has truly been a driving force in many modern innovations, spanning materials, medicine, health care and finance. Devices are now linked to mission-critical services, and the edge computing powered by AI offers tremendous opportunities not only in research and education, but in many industrial sectors and entrepreneurship,” said Duke University Provost Sally Kornbluth in her address to attendees. “This has become of great interest to us here at Duke and is one of the pillars of our new Duke Science and Technology Initiative.”

Provost Sally Kornbluth at podium

AI powers four thrust areas comprising Athena’s research portfolio: networking, computer systems, AI, and services and applications. Collaborating researchers from Duke, MIT, NC A&T, Princeton, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and Yale gave short “spotlight” presentations of their proposed edge-computing research and educational and outreach plans to colleagues as well as government and industry collaborators at the kickoff event.

“The partnerships that have been created for Athena are spectacular and will enable transformational advances that are significantly greater than the sum of individual investigations. It’s a real honor for Duke Engineering to be leading this exciting effort, and we appreciate the trust that’s been put in us by NSF, DHS and our collaborators,” said Interim Dean of Duke Engineering Jeffrey Glass in remarks.

“The partnerships that have been created for Athena are spectacular and will enable transformational advances that are significantly greater than the sum of individual investigations."

Interim Dean of Duke Engineering Jeffrey Glass

Glass added that Athena is charged with much more than developing new technology. “In addition to utilizing research for the benefit of society, we have a great responsibility to ensure that the technology being developed is for diverse users, and that education is paramount in all our activities,” he said, noting that Athena includes a robust initiative dedicated to cultivating a diverse next generation of technical leaders who will ensure the ethical and fair use of AI.

 

Learn more about Athena