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Assistant Professor Tania Roy has been named a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award. The award will fund Roy’s research on artificial neurons and synapses. She and her research team are developing them using two-dimensional graphene heterostructures for neuromorphic computing.

This means that, in the future, researchers will be able to create systems that can emulate the capacity and speed of the human brain for pattern matching, beating current systems that are bulkier, slower and more power hungry. This will revolutionize the field of machine learning and create devices where the machine-learning hardware is close to the sensor, giving rise to systems that are currently impossible to create. Neuromorphic circuits based on these devices include smart wearables that can monitor health biometrics and issue first level triage for elderly people alone at home. They can improve autonomous driving for terrestrial vehicles. These circuits will be especially useful for spacecraft and space rovers because these ultra-light circuits will not be a bottleneck to the rocket’s payload. Fast pattern recognition abilities through these deep neural networks will enhance speech recognition in portable electronics and improve traffic analysis and control systems.