Next Generation Computing Project Funded | News, Sports, Jobs


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MARQUETTE — Jeffrey Horn, an associate professor at Northern Michigan University, has received $92,500 from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing for a next-generation computing project.

Horn received funding for a large-scale evolution algorithm he invented that has practical implications for minimizing material waste in industrial production.

“We plan to bring DSE to tackle real-world shape nesting issues in the industry,” Horn said. “Businesses such as automotive manufacturing, textiles, and sign making all involve cutting shaped pieces from a sheet of expensive material, such as steel, glass, leather, or titanium. Cutting these materials is done by nesting the cuts close to each other in an effort to reduce wasted trim. Thus, DSE maximizes the use of materials.

“Our specific goal is the development and deployment of DSE on a powerful server specifically designed to run DSE with massive population sizes but short computation times. To do this, we will take advantage of the latest revolution in processing power – the graphics processing unit or GPU – originally developed to render 3D graphics for games and animations, but now used for algorithms massively parallel, like deep learning, bitcoin mining and simulation evolution like DSE.

Horn is the principal investigator for his team, which also includes NMU computer science graduate students Nathan Joyal, Xavier Mansfield, and Oliver Rochester, and computer science undergraduate Jonathon Damon as technical implementers. Engineering Technology Professor Cale Polkinghorne will serve as pilot user and tester.

“I am grateful for the efforts of the Faculty of Computer Science, under the leadership of Dr. Hadi Shafei, to establish our graduate program in Computer Science this year – just in time for the MTRAC project,” Horn said. “This type of research and development work requires graduate-level capabilities and would not have been possible without our new program.”

Horn’s project was one of four state universities chosen by the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Technologies, managed by Wayne State University for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, with financial support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. All aim to seize deep technology opportunities in high-impact sectors, such as anti-deep fake technology, artificial intelligence-based decision support and next-generation computing.

Horn said the MTRAC program is providing additional funding, increasing its original budget by $75,000 in “an unusual expression of confidence in the project’s approach.” The increase will allow Horn to expand the project team with marketing and customer discovery expertise and bring technology to market faster.

“We are thrilled to see impressive disruptive innovations and the participation of so many Michigan universities for the third year of the program,” said Edward Kim, program director of the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing, in a press release. “The third cohort winners are proof that high-tech research is thriving at all Michigan research institutions. The MTRAC Advanced Computing Innovation Hub is proud to be the premier lab-to-market support platform dedicated to innovators tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges.

The researchers presented their proposals to an oversight committee made up of leading technologists, successful technology entrepreneurs, industry partners and venture capitalists with a track record of commercializing and investing in cutting-edge technologies. In addition to funding, researchers will receive valuable mentorship support from committee members as their projects progress toward commercialization.

“We are committed to fostering the commercialization of talent and technology within our state at the research level by creating collaborative opportunities that ultimately strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem and position Michigan at the forefront of the market. innovative technologies, said Denise Graves, director of university relations at MEDC. “Although these research projects are still in their infancy, they are very promising. The funding and mentorship they receive from the MTRAC program is an important step in taking these projects from concept to commercialization.

Horn joined the faculty at Northern in the Mathematics and Computer Science department in 1996. He has taught graduate-level computer science courses with interests including artificial intelligence, theory of computation, 3D game technologies, and the robotics. Horn’s research focuses on evolutionary computation, evolutionary robotics, synthetic ecologies, emergent coevolution, and artificial life.



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Clifton L. Boyd