NSF awards $900K grant to Drs. El-Ghazawi and Sorger

August 16, 2017

Drs. Tarek El-Ghazawi and Volker Sorger are the principal investigator and co-principal investigator, respectively, on a four-year, nearly $900,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.  Their project is titled “RAISE: The Reconfigurable Optical Computer (ROC).”  The ultimate goal of this bold, interdisciplinary project is to engender a new class of reconfigurable computing devices.  The objective is to create a nano-photonic, analog, reconfigurable computer that is capable of computing out of first principles by solving those partial differential equations (PDEs) that are used for most simulations in science and engineering.  The PDEs would be directly solved using a network of electric components that are implemented using innovative nano-photonic devices.  Due to its transformative and interdisciplinary nature, this project is jointly funded by the NSF’s Engineering and CISE Directorates.  

This project is a part of a longer term vision and direction by Drs. El-Ghazawi and Sorger to achieve orders of magnitude improvements over today’s computing technologies through nano-photonic-enabled computing (NEC), using innovative principles for processing and architectures that depart from the conventional von Neumann digital computer systems and their limitations.  This project brings the level of joint funding of this new area, for which Drs. El-Ghazawi and Sorger are among the pioneers, to a total of $3 million from NSF, AFOSR, and SRC.