Visual Cortex On Silicon

Visual Cortex On SiliconAn NSF Expedition in Computing

The Team

Team Members

Research and Development Partners

Principal Investigator (PC)


Vijaykrishnan Narayanan

The Pennsylvania State University
Vijay Narayanan is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering. He received his B.E. degree from University of Madras and Ph.D. from University of South Florida. His research interests are in Power-aware Circuits and Systems and Embedded Systems.  He is a Fellow of IEEE.

Hardware Architecture


Chita Das

The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Das has been on the faculty at the Pennsylvania State University since 1986, and is currently a distinguished professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He received the Ph.D. degree in computer science from the Center for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Louisiana, in 1986.
Dr. Das's primary research interests include computer architecture, parallel and distributed computing, cluster systems, processor management in multiprocessors, performance evaluation and fault-tolerant computing. He has published extensively in these areas. Of late, he is working on multi-core/SoC systems, Network-on-Chip (NoC) microarchitectures, Internet QoS, multimedia servers, and mobile computing. He has served on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Computers and IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems.


Gert Cauwenberghs

Gert Cauwenberghs received the M.Eng. degree in applied physics from University of Brussels, Belgium, in 1988, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1989 and 1994. He is Professor of Bioengineering at University of California San Diego, where he co-directs the Institute for Neural Computation. Previously, he held positions as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Maryland, and as Visiting Professor of Brain and Cognitive Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
He is a Francqui Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation, and received the National Science Foundation Career Award in 1997, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 1999, and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2000. He was Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society in 2003-2004, and chaired its Analog Signal Processing Technical Committee in 2001-2002. He currently serves as Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, and IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. He is Senior Editor for the IEEE Sensors Journal.


Steve Levitan

University of Pittsburgh
Steven P. Levitan is the John A. Jurenko Professor of Computer Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received the B.S. degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1972. From 1972 to 1977 he worked for Xylogic Systems. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. During that time he also worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, and Viewlogic Systems. He was an Assistant Professor from 1984 to 1986 in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts. In 1987, Dr. Levitan joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at the University of Pittsburgh where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science.
He was awarded the ACM/SIGDA Distinguished Service Award for over a decade of service to ACM/SIGDA and the EDA Industry in 2002.  He received the Provost's Academic Council on Instructional Excellence (ACIE) Award in 2010 from the University of Pittsburgh and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Swanson School of Engineering in 2013. He is a senior member of the IEEE/Computer Society and a member of the Optical Society of America, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the International Society for Optical Engineering.


Don Chiarulli

University of Pittsburgh
Donald M. Chiarulli is a Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1986 from Louisiana State University, the first Ph.D. in Computer Science conferred by LSU. He received a M.S. in Computer Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1979, and a B.S. in Physics from LSU in 1976.
Dr. Chiarulli's research can generally be categorized as Experimental Computer Architecture. His career has focused on modeling and testing new designs that exploit emerging technologies for the design of computer systems and embedded computing devices. He has worked extensively in optical computing and photonics, MEMs, micro-fluidics, and 3D integration in systems with applications in Computer Science, Engineering and Biology.


Suman Datta

The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Datta joined Penn State with a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering and the Materials Research Institute in 2007. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a Principal Engineer in the Advanced Transistor and Nanotechnology Group at Intel Corporation. He held the Joseph Monkowski Professorship for Early Faculty Career Development. He is exploring new materials, novel nanofabrication techniques, new classical and non-classical device structures for CMOS "enhancement" and CMOS "replacement" for future energy efficient, high performance and information processing systems. He is also interested in exploring novel energy conversion devices harnessing nanoscale properties of nanostructures. He has published over 140 journal and conference articles and holds 145 US and international patents related to advanced process technologies and transistor architecture. He is an IEEE fellow and a distinguished lecturer of the IEEE Electron Devices Society.


Philip Wong

Stanford University
H.-S. Philip Wong is the Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor in the School of Engineering. He joined Stanford University as Professor of Electrical Engineering in September, 2004. From 1988 to 2004, he was with the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. At IBM, he held various positions from Research Staff Member to Manager, and Senior Manager. While he was Senior Manager, he had the responsibility of shaping and executing IBM’s strategy on nanoscale science and technology as well as exploratory silicon devices and semiconductor technology. His present research covers a broad range of topics including carbon electronics, 2D layered materials, wireless implantable biosensors, directed self-assembly, nanoelectromechanical relays, device modeling, brain-inspired computing, and non-volatile memory devices such as phase change memory and metal oxide resistance change memory. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and served on the Electron Devices Society AdCom as elected member (2001 – 2006). He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology in 2005 – 2006, sub-committee Chair of the ISSCC (2003 – 2004), General Chair of the IEDM (2007), and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Symposia of VLSI Technology and Circuits (2007 – 2010). He received the B.Sc. (Hons.), M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong, Stony Brook University, and Lehigh University, respectively. His academic appointments include the Chair of Excellence of the French Nanosciences Foundation, Guest Professor of Peking University, Honorary Professor of the Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Honorary Doctorate degree from the Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble, France.


Greg Link

York College of Pennsylvania
Greg Link is Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at York College of Pennsylvania.  He received the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University in 2006.  He currently teaches in the areas of digital circuits, microprocessor design, embedded systems, and field-programmable devices.  His research interests include adaptive and temperature-aware circuit design, artificial neural networks and application-specific performance accelerators.

Vision Foundation and Algorithms


Laurent Itti

University of Southern California
Laurent Itti is Associate Professor of Computer Science, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. He received the Ph.D. degree in Computation and Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology in 2000. His research is focused on the use of computational models to explore and understand the biological functions of the brain. His work also explores the engineering applications such models may have in the fields of computer vision, image processing, robotics and artificial intelligence. 

Robert Desimone

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Desimone is Director of the McGovern Institute and Professor in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department. Prior to coming to MIT, he was Director of the NIMH Intramural Research Program, the largest mental health research center in the world. Desimone received his B.A. from Macalester College and his Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Robert Desimone's research focuses on the neural bases of attention and executive control, which are frequently abnormal in major mental diseases.  His lab combines neurophysiological recording in animals and fMRI and MEG brain imaging techniques in humans to understand how neural circuits filter out distracting information.   His lab is particularly interested in the role of synchronized neural activity in attentional control.


Alan Yuille

Alan Yuille received the BA degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 1976. His PhD on theoretical physics, supervised by Prof. S.W. Hawking, was approved in 1981. He was a research scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and the Division of Applied Sciences at Harvard University from 1982 to 1988. He served as an assistant and associate professor at Harvard until 1996. He was a senior research scientist at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute from 1996 to 2002. He joined the University of California, Los Angeles, as a full professor with a joint appointment in statistics and psychology in 2002. He obtained a joint appointment in computer science in 2007. His research interests include computational models of vision, mathematical models of cognition, and artificial intelligence and neural networks.

Interface, Information Retrieval and Privacy


Lee Giles

The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. C. Lee Giles is the David Reese Professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. He is also Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems, and Director of the Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory. He directs the CiteSeerX project and codirects the ChemXSeer project at Penn State. He has been associated with Columbia University, the University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, the University of Pisa and the University of Trento.


Mary Beth Rosson

The Pennsylvania State University
Mary Beth Rosson is Associate Dean of Information Sciences and Technology as well as a Professor in the same college and Affiliate Professor of Instructional Systems in the College of Education. With Dr. John Carroll, she is co-director of the Computer-Supported Collaboration and Learning (CSCL). She is also a founding member of PSU’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction, a loosely coupled university-wide consortium of researchers and educators pursuing topics in HCI.
Her long-term research themes include scenario-based design (SBD) and evaluation methods, materials and tools for informal and collaborative learning, and interactive tools for software design and construction. An overview of the SBD methods can be found in the Usability Engineering textbook she authored in 2002. Currently, she participates in a broad range of research projects, most involving some aspect of collaborative learning and problem solving employing a variety of methods such as lab studies, participatory analysis and design, exploratory software development, and field studies within the general framework of action research.


John Carroll

The Pennsylvania State University

John M. Carroll is Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. His research is in methods and theory in human-computer interaction, particularly as applied to networking tools for collaborative learning and problem solving, and design of interactive information systems. Books include Making Use (MIT, 2000), Usability Engineering (Morgan-Kaufmann, 2002, with M.B. Rosson), Rationale-Based Software Engineering (Springer, 2008, with J. Burge, R. McCall and I. Mistrik), Learning in Communities (Springer, 2009), The Neighborhood in the Internet (Routledge, 2012), and Creativity and Rationale: Enhancing Human Experience by Design (Springer, 2012). Carroll serves on several editorial boards for journals, handbooks, and series. He is editor of the Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics.  Carroll has received the Rigo Award and the CHI Lifetime Achievement Award from ACM, the Silver Core Award from IFIP, and the Goldsmith Award from IEEE. He is a fellow of AAAS, ACM, IEEE, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the Association for Psychological Science.



Daniel Kifer

The Pennsylvania State University
Daniel Kifer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.  He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Cornell University in 2006.
His research interests include the application of machine learning in a broad range of areas such as databases, text modeling, statistics and more recently, privacy.