How Purdue College Commercializes Its Analysis

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For Yung-Hsiang Lu, enhancing the power effectivity of pc expertise to offer real-world advantages has been a lifelong focus.

“After I was studying knowledge constructions, I started to see issues from a distinct viewpoint—easy methods to make issues environment friendly,” says Lu, a professor {of electrical} and pc engineering and a college school scholar at Purdue University’s Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in West Lafayette, Ind.

The IEEE Fellow’s analysis focuses on creating energy-efficient computing programs. Improved effectivity is more and more important for duties like pc imaginative and prescient and imaging actions. It’s notably vital the place battery weight, measurement, and capability is a treasured useful resource, akin to in small and cellular units like distributed sensor networks, autonomous robots, wi-fi communication, and real-time programs.

Over the previous a number of years, his analysis has included accumulating and analyzing knowledge from networked cameras in shops, optimizing how they place their merchandise, and assessing COVID-19 lockdown compliance based mostly on multinational digicam knowledge.

Lu can be guiding the following technology of researchers—each graduate and undergraduate college students.

“I used to assume I simply needed to jot down analysis papers,” Lu says. However after a number of of his college students received the 2014 Schurz Innovation Challenge at Purdue, the place college students introduced ideas for Net and cellular functions, Lu says he needed to assist college students go from “analysis to expertise switch and commercialization. I wish to see analysis outcomes get utilized in the actual world.

“I nonetheless do analysis, after all,” Lu notes. “The truth is, I acquired three analysis grants final yr.”

Lu was impressed to conduct analysis in enhancing effectivity when he was an undergraduate scholar on the National Taiwan University, in Taipei, the place his research included programs in algorithms and knowledge constructions.

“Algorithms are very relevant to actual life,” he explains. “I exploit them each morning to resolve how I wish to manage my day.”

After incomes his bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering from the varsity in 1992, Lu went on to obtain a grasp’s diploma in EE in 1996 and a Ph.D. in EE in 2002, each from Stanford.

Lu has additionally written a number of books. His Intermediate C Programming (CRC Press, 2015) covers programming ideas, debugging, and the connection between programming and discrete arithmetic. He additionally coedited Low-Power Computer Vision: Improve the Efficiency of Artificial Intelligence (Chapman and Corridor/CRC, 2022), which collected strategies for enhancing power effectivity for pc imaginative and prescient on battery-powered programs.

All through the previous decade Lu’s focus has been more and more increasing past conducting analysis to incorporate educating real-world-relevant objectives, serving to college students commercialize their applied sciences, and studying easy methods to begin and develop firms. He says he realized that he “needed to assist transfer our discoveries within the lab out to the world for influence by means of patents and expertise switch commercialization alternatives.

“For the 2014 Schurz competitors, I’d given some strategies to assist the scholars develop the enterprise plans and win the competitors, after which helped them pursue commercialization, together with creating SBIR [Small Business Innovation Research] proposals,” he says.

In 2015, Lu grew to become a principal investigator for the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, which helps NSF-supported professors perceive the business worth of their analysis.

That very same yr, Lu helped begin the now-international IEEE Low-Power Computer Vision Challenge, an annual competitors that goals to enhance the power effectivity of pc imaginative and prescient (CV) for operating on programs with stringent useful resource constraints. Laptop imaginative and prescient, Lu says, “stays one of many grand challenges in AI. To this point, the competitors has acquired greater than 500 options for CV issues from over 100 groups around the globe.”

Lu additionally helps undergraduates conduct analysis in relation to real-world issues by means of his involvement in Purdue’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program. For his work, Lu acquired the 2019 Outstanding VIP-Based Entrepreneur Award.

He has additionally been concerned in a number of expertise problem occasions. He is among the organizers of this yr’s IEEE Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Competition, which challenges groups to see which of their UAVs can efficiently comply with a shifting goal with no teleoperator.

Lu was appointed the inaugural director of Purdue’s John Martinson Entrepreneurial Center in 2020—which, Lu factors out, is one among many entrepreneurial applications and actions at Purdue.

One necessary remark Lu says he made in the course of the NSF I-Corps program is that “the issues folks in the actual world face might not be those we at universities imagined.” He says it’s necessary for researchers to speak with folks exterior of academia as a result of “they take a look at issues in a different way.”

Lu additionally encourages college students to attempt to get entangled in a challenge that lasts multiple semester and for professors to offer these alternatives.

“When you’re engaged on a one-semester challenge, it’s so brief you don’t take into consideration penalties for dangerous choices,” he says. “If you’re in a challenge for one yr, loads of dangerous choices will come again and harm you, which you be taught from.”

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