SUNY Poly prof awarded $1.7M grant to study next-gen computers

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SUNY Polytechnic Institute Professor of Nanobioscience Nate Cady has been awarded a $1.768 million grant from the Rome Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for research into next-generation computing systems, SUNY Poly announced.

The grant will support research into “power-efficient devices that can overcome current performance limitations by using human brain-inspired computing hardware,” the college said.

Cady was awarded the funding “to enable future generations of computing systems by using memristors (or ‘memory resistors’), which are nanoscale electronic switching devices that act like synapses in the human brain,” said SUNY Poly. This will allow Cady and his research team to “fabricate an overall hardware architecture and capability which can lead to computing that can be as much as 1,000 times as powerful as is currently available.”

Supporting educational opportunities for a number of SUNY Poly students, the research will leverage its “world-class 300mm and 200mm fabs and research labs, in order to provide neuromorphic computing power that meets stringent Air Force requirements for applications such as unmanned aerial vehicles...aircraft, satellites, and other deployable autonomous systems,” the college said.

The research will be focused at SUNY Poly’s Albany campus.

The college also has a local campus in Marcy. SUNY Poly Director of University Communications Steve Ference said “one of the important keys is SUNY Poly’s continuing and critical relationship with the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is mutually beneficial for advancing research and supporting the strength of America’s technological capabilities.”

SUNY Poly interim President Grace Wang congratulated Cady on the grant. She said it “showcases the high-impact research our faculty conducts, as well as our world-class fabrication capabilities that are advancing next-generation computing while addressing power consumption challenges to enable autonomous and deployable systems that can enhance our nation’s security and improve a number of the technologies we use each day.”

The Rome AFRL “looks forward to collaborating with SUNY Poly in research and development of...processes that will enable powerful neuromorphic and other architectures with enhanced capabilities for Air Force systems,” said AFRL principal electronics engineer Joseph E. Van Nostrand.

“The advanced manufacturing capabilities at SUNY Poly further allow for rapid prototype development and fielding to the warfighter, which is critical for the Air Force rapid acquisition system,” the principal electronics engineer added.

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