The Jonsson School

NSF CAREER Honor Supports
AI Hardware Development

Dr. Joseph S. Friedman

Dr. Joseph S. Friedman

A University of Texas at Dallas professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science recently earned a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support artificial intelligence (AI) research.

Dr. Joseph S. Friedman, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive about $500,000 over five years to develop AI hardware that leverages electron spin in efficient circuits that learn autonomously.

Friedman joined UT Dallas in 2016 and is part of several interdisciplinary groups including the Quantum Center at UT Dallas. NSF CAREER grants are the agency’s most prestigious awards for early-career faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars and are likely to become leaders in their fields.

“Dr. Joseph Friedman’s research is an essential step for UT Dallas to expand its footprint in the research related to emerging disruptive technologies and computing models,” said Dr. Dinesh Bhatia, interim co-head and professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Conventional AI systems are programmed based on a set of training data but do not have the ability to autonomously learn during the course of their operation.

By mimicking brain functionality with spintronic circuits (based on electron spin in addition to electron charge), autonomous AI hardware systems can be developed that continually learn from their experiences in an energy-efficient manner.

“The point is that we want to have a computer that is more like the human brain; the hardware architecture is going to function more similarly to the way that the brain processes information,”
Friedman said.

Friedman will work with undergraduate researchers as well as graduate students to conduct and test
the research.

Bhatia continued, “I am particularly impressed by the number of undergraduate students working with Dr. Friedman and producing first-authored quality publications.”

Friedman holds master’s and PhD degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Northwestern University plus two bachelor’s degrees in engineering from Dartmouth College. Prior to joining UT Dallas as an assistant professor in 2016, Friedman was a post doctoral research associate at Université Paris-Sud in Orsay, France.