ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — SUNY Polytechnic Institute has received $5.5 million to research and design smaller and more efficient computer chips. The funding was awarded to Empire Innovation Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Nathaniel Cady from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Dr. Cady, SUNY Poly adjunct faculty member Dr. Karsten Beckmann and their research team will be able to demonstrate adaptable and reconfigurable neural networks, which are computing systems that act like synapses in the human brain. This will allow them to fabricate small, low-power computer chips.

Dr. Nathaniel Cady and Dr. Karsten Beckmann (Courtesy: SUNY Polytechnic Institute)

The college said these chips will be more efficient than the chips currently available, and will also be able to perform complex functions while being able to learn and adapt. The chips will be used in a variety of U.S. military and civilian applications.

“This expansive and exciting project brings together the true potential of the SUNY Poly educational and research ecosystem, and I am proud to congratulate Professor Cady and the research teams on receiving this critical funding,” said SUNY Poly Acting President Dr. Tod A. Laursen. “This AFRL award is testament to SUNY Poly’s impactful research capabilities, which not only foster hands-on student opportunities, but also utilize deep faculty expertise across both of our campuses.”

The research specifically aims to fabricate, test, and deliver custom-built chips that will be integrated with resistive memory materials. The computer chips will create a brain-inspired computing processor. The research team will also assist with the development of a range of applications of the computing capability.

The college said the AFRL, Navy, and Army research teams will use the chips developed by SUNY Poly researchers for further research and development at their facilities across the United States.

In Fall 2018, Dr. Cady received $500,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation to develop advanced computing systems based on a novel approach to the creation of non-volatile memory architecture. In 2019, he also received $1.7 million from the AFRL to develop next-generation computing systems.