by Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Transit System

The evolution of computing is happening before our eyes here in San Diego. 

This week, it was reported that the Department of Energy is awarding $12.6 in renewed funding for Quantum Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic Computing (Q-MEEN-C), a research center led by University of California, San Diego. 

The center has been home to researchers who explore to "mimic the emergent complexity that makes the brain an efficient computer."

According to researchers, this center has played a pivotal role at the forefront of this particular type of research. 

UCSD's Chancellor says that the growth of this research center defines the school's continued progress in its dedication to this research. 

“This additional round of funding is a testament to the Department of Energy’s faith in the work Q-MEEN-C is doing,” stated UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The center embodies many of our guiding principles of collaboration and leading-edge research. This achievement not only reflects positively on the researchers, but also the Department of Physics and the entire university.”

The center's Director says that this kind of science has improved researchers identify ideal materials such as silicon and germanium. 

“With current technology, to make a device that mimics the brain, the local energy requirement is so large that it’s not practical,” stated Q-MEEN-C Director and Distinguished Professor of Physics Ivan K. Schuller. “During the semiconductor revolution, materials science helped developers identify silicon and germanium as ideal materials. It is the same now, where we see quantum materials as the key to increasing computational power while also decreasing local energy consumption.”

Co-director and Professor of Physics Alex Frañó also said that even though they've made great strides on the matter, they are not done yet reaching their full potential for the future of their research. 

“This is only the beginning,” stated Professor of Physics Alex Frañó. “Now that we’ve found viable materials, we’re laying the foundation for future research. The human brain is a network of neurons, synapses and dendrites — you can’t have a brain-like computer without a brain-like network. We can take these quantum materials and combine them with other materials to see how they react with each other as a step toward creating neuromorphic computing networks.”

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