ASU engineer works to develop a portable brain-like computer

September 27, 2017

Many of our portable devices today work with advanced voice or image features, but your personal Siri or Google Photos app can’t process speech or image recognition solely on your smartphone’s hardware.

But what if speech and image recognition and other complex cognitive tasks could all be performed on a single portable device without an internet connection and high-power servers behind the scenes? Jae-sun Seo Jae-sun Seo, assistant professor of electrical engineering in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, caught the attention of the National Science Foundation in the form of a five-year, nearly $473,000 CAREER Award. Download Full Image

Jae-sun Seo is attempting to shatter the computing, energy and size limitations of state-of-the-art learning algorithms to fit on small footprint devices with the help of custom-designed hardware.

This research caught the attention of the National Science Foundation and earned Seo, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, a five-year, nearly $473,000 CAREER Award.

“The overarching goal of this project is to build brain-inspired intelligent computing systems using custom hardware designs that are energy-efficient and programmable for various cognitive tasks, including autonomous driving, speech and biomedical applications,” Seo said.

In order to reduce the resources required by learning algorithms, Seo looks to the human brain to mimic its ability to selectively and adaptively learn and recognize real-world data, dispensing with the redundant computations and exhaustive searches current algorithms employ.

Seo also aims to investigate low-power, real-time on-chip learning methods; novel memory compression schemes for software and hardware design; efficient on-chip power management capable of adapting to abrupt changes in cognitive workloads; and cross-layer optimization of circuits, architectures and algorithms.

“The outcomes of this research will feature new very-large-scale integration systems that can learn and perform cognitive tasks in real-time with superior energy efficiency, opening up possibilities for ubiquitous intelligence in small-form-factor devices,” Seo said.

Seo believes his overall research goal for ultra-energy-efficient intelligent hardware that integrates a synergistic set of tasks spanning algorithms, circuits and architectures piqued the NSF’s interest.

“In addition to covering a wide range of disciplines from bio-inspired models to memory compression to power management, I articulated possible solutions for addressing the design challenges brought by the computation- and memory-intensive nature of state-of-the-art deep neural networks,” Seo said of his proposal.

Collaboration between Fulton Schools faculty and the high-performance computing resources of ASU Research Computing helped make this interdisciplinary research possible, Seo said.

Monique Clement

Lead communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU Music Therapy Clinic announces inaugural showcase and fundraiser

September 27, 2017

Recognized as the No. 2 educational clinic in the nation, the Arizona State University Music Therapy Clinic in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music changes lives one note at a time.

The clinic will hold its inaugural Music Therapy Clinic Showcase and Fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale. Students and faculty at Music Therapy Clinic session Students, faculty and community members participating in a Music Therapy Clinic session. Download Full Image

The showcase and fundraiser will feature an evening of memorable performances by current and former Music Therapy Clinic students and clients, and a recognition of community partners and student leaders. Ticket purchases will directly support the services provided through the clinic to promote learning, health and positive change by funding community ASU music therapy programs.

“This signature annual event provides an opportunity to bring the community together once a year to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and community members,” said Frank Thompson, faculty associate in the music therapy program.

The nationally renowned music therapy program in the ASU School of Music brings over 40 years of music and academic excellence into today’s clinical and technological health-care environment. The program is socially embedded in the community and serves a variety of clients — from children with disabilities and Alzheimer's patients to kids living in group homes and veterans — seeking optimal quality of life through therapeutic music experiences.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Kerr Cultural Center for $25; online at Ticketmaster (additional fees apply); or by calling Kerr at 480-596-2660 (additional $1.50 per ticket fee). Students with an ASU ID may purchase one ticket per ID for $15.

Sponsorships are available for purchase at Ticketmaster by Sept. 30:

  • Silver — $200: Includes 8 tickets, sponsor’s logo in the program and a sponsor certificate
  • Gold — $250: Includes 10 tickets, sponsor’s logo in the program, a sponsor certificate and verbal recognition at the event
  • Platinum — $500: Includes 20 tickets, sponsor’s logo in the program, a sponsor certificate, verbal recognition at the event and front row seats
Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music