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2019 CAP Lecture Series - Neuromorphic Silicon Photonics

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 14:00
KHE 235B

Presenter: Dr. Bhavin J. Shastri
Department of Engineering Physics
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming our lives in the same way as the advent of the Internet and cellular phones. It takes thousands of CPUs and GPUs, and many weeks to train the neural networks in AI hardware. Over the last six years, this compute power has doubled every 3.5 months. Traditional CPUs, GPUs, and neuromorphic (i.e., brain-inspired) electronics such as the IBM TrueNorth and Google TPU will not be powerful enough to train the neural networks of the near future. My research group is developing the next generation of AI hardware with neuromorphic photonics processors that use light instead of electric signals. In this lecture, I will describe our work on building processors on a silicon photonics platform which enables large-scale integration of optical and electronic devices on the same substrate. I will demonstrate how our photonic neural networks can solve coupled ordinary differential equations (such as a Lorenz attractor or a nonlinear optimization problem) a thousand times faster than conventional CPUs. In summary, I will take a look at some of the traditional challenges of photonic information processing, describe the photonic neural-network approaches being developed by our lab and others, and offer a glimpse at the future outlook for this emerging field.

Presenter’s Bio:
Dr. Bhavin J. Shastri is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics at Queen’s University, Canada. He was an Associate Research Scholar (2016-2018) and Banting and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-2016) at Princeton University. He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering (photonics) from McGill University in 2012. Dr. Shastri is a recipient of the 2014 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Government of Canada, the 2012 D. W. Ambridge Prize for the top graduating Ph.D. student, an IEEE Photonics Society 2011 Graduate Student Fellowship, a 2011 NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, a 2011 SPIE Scholarship in Optics and Photonics, a 2008 NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship. including the Best Student Paper Awards at the 2014 IEEE Photonics Conference, 2010 IEEE Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems, the 2004 IEEE Computer Society Lance Stafford Larson Outstanding Student Award, and the 2003 IEEE Canada Life Member Award. Dr. Shastri is a co-author of the book, Neuromorphic Photonics(Taylor & Francis, CRC Press).