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Oct 04, 2019 NEWS
Prof Themis Prodromakis awarded Chair in Emerging Technologies from the Royal Academy of Engineering

Professor Prodromakis has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies to drive forward electronic systems that can sense, recognise, learn and reason like the human brain.

The Chair will focus on Memristive Technologies for Lifelong Learning Embedded AI Hardware, using innovations in nanotechnology to create a new electronic fabric that merges memory with computing power while maintaining extreme power efficiency.

Themis, Head of the Electronic Materials and Devices Research Group in the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics, is one of eight world-leading engineers that will share a total of £22 million from the prestigious scheme.

The ten-year support provided to the Chairs will enable them to progress their pioneering ideas from basic science through to full deployment and commercialisation, with Themis pursuing the ambitious goal of embedding artificial intelligence (AI).

“As evidenced by the government’s recent, £1bn deal with industry for the development of cutting-edge AI within the UK, this programme comes at a very timely moment,” he says. “AI is destined to transform our society, affecting every aspect of our lives. However, a key bottleneck towards the proliferation of the technology is the lack of efficient hardware that will allow us to embed AI everywhere – well beyond the cloud’s reach.

“The specific needs of embedded AI solutions place traditional systems under excessive strain. At the same time, the need for intelligent assistants, connected sensor networks and smart surveillance are pushing the boundaries for more powerful and more efficient hardware for AI that can deal with modern society’s needs for real-time data processing and the ability to adapt continuously (life long learning) under resource-constraint environments.”

“This award will enable me to consolidate my established track-record in metal-oxide memristor technologies and provide sustained support (and gravitas) for advancing this technology to neuromorphic application solutions, using electronic analog circuits to mimic neuro-biological architectures.”

The eight areas of research funded through the new Chairs in Emerging Technologies reflect the UK’s wider technological priorities, with many of the projects directly aligned to the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The ten-year support provided to the Chairs will enable them to progress their pioneering ideas from basic science through to full deployment and commercialisation and we are excited to see the results.