Jia Di, Department Chair and Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.
Jia Di, chair of the department and professor of computer science and computer engineering at the University of Arkansas, received an award of $800,000 to support the development of Edge AI applications. The award is part of a larger $6 million prize from the National Science Foundation to six collaborating universities and several private sector partners in Alabama, Arkansas and North Dakota.
In their proposal to the NSF, the collaborating researchers noted that artificial intelligence, or AI, while highly effective in many real-world applications, requires access to the Internet as well as large, complex, and remote computers for making decisions and predictions. This can lead to long delays and increased privacy and security concerns.
One emerging area in AI development is Edge AI, which avoids these issues by locating and analyzing data locally, whether through a camera, smartphone, or wearable device. The proposed work is designed to extend the boundaries of the new Edge AI technology.
The limited goal of the project is to build a smart wearable device for diabetics to monitor their blood sugar levels. The primary virtue of this approach is the elimination of blood draws. Instead, the wearable will monitor the wearer’s breathing, collecting updated data points about blood sugar levels. While the sensor won’t initially be as accurate as drawing blood, the AI algorithm the device uses will still be able to make timely recommendations, such as “seek medical attention”.
Di and his team are tasked with developing a new application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC, that will be the main computational unit for the proposed wearable device. ASIC will be able to implement various AI algorithms within a short period of time to reduce time to market, while maintaining a long battery life due to innovations in asynchronous circuit design and system integration.
“I’m excited to be on this multi-university team to take advantage of our asynchronous ASIC design expertise to help develop this device,” said Dee. “Looking at the population with diabetes in these countries [Alabama, Arkansas and North Dakota] And in the country, the research findings of this project will have the potential to make significant impacts on our society.”
Along with the goal of creating a wearable device, the research is expected to accelerate the development of Edge AI and increase the competitiveness of the United States in the field of artificial intelligence. The award will also provide opportunities for research training to advanced college students, as well as training high school teachers to educate their students in the principles of Edge AI to embed them in key concepts as early as possible.
The National Science Foundation Prize comes under the umbrella EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program: Track Two of the Focused EPSCoR Collaborationwhich, according to its website, “supports multidisciplinary teams of EPSCoR investigators to conduct research in emerging industries, with the goal of promoting economic growth in their jurisdictions.”
Professor Dee serves as President of Rodger S. Kline.
About the University of Arkansas: As the premier institution in Arkansas, U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion for the Arkansas economy By teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship, career development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Endowment ranks the U of A among the few US colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US news and world report U of A ranks among the top public universities in the country. Watch how U of A is working to build a better world in ArkansasResearchNews.