Research in computer engineering led by the brainNew Duke professor Helen Li explains research in brain-inspired computing, future of artificial intelligence

Helen Li is the new professor at Duke’s department of electrical and computer engineering and talks about her research interests in an interview.

What is her research about?

“The reason I joined Duke majorly is trying to exchange research about future computing. Future computing is sometimes called more specifically “brain-inspired” computing. My research is trying to mimic brain biology structures and develop similar hardware architectures. Then we can improve the efficiency, meaning the computation speed and energy efficiency.”

What inspired her to do this kind of research?

“I started my Ph.D. in microprocessors. Then, I joined companies and joined the networks of new technologies and spoke to defense agencies, like the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy and found that our computers, even though we love them so much and use them so much, are not smart enough. There are a lot of tasks that cannot be operated or realized. From the other end, our human brains are very efficient. They’re light, respond fast and learn by itself. So from other conversations and research exchanges, I decided that intelligent computing will be the future. And this is how I initiated my research work in the beginning.”

SwissCognitiveWhat does she think of the future of artificial intelligence research in general?

I personally believe it and am looking forward to it. I think right now that the situation is way different from what we had in the past. Right now, people have made significant progress in nanotechnologies. We have the new medium and technology to develop completely new computer architectures. People also have a much better understanding of biology, DNA, cells, brains. People already have also developed clear theory, statistics and machine learning. Furthermore, people have extensive databases, and those are essentially the foundation of artificial intelligence as well. All the components are there, but our major challenge is putting them together to enable artificial intelligence. I believe that this is something we will be able to achieve eventually […]