GTRI Graduate Scholarship Expands
In the second year, the scholarship expands to include all Georgia Tech colleges.
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) solves the most pressing national security problems, from spacecraft innovations to artificial forensics, and has always sought to partner with Georgia Tech faculty to improve those solutions. Seeking to further enhance the benefits of research collaborations with university professors, last year GTRI started the Graduate Fellowship Program to catalyze long-term research collaborations between their scientists and researchers and GT faculty.
The first eight projects of the College of Engineering’s inaugural cohort have been highly successful, and in year two, the scholarship expands to include all Georgia Tech colleges.
“We really want connectivity to manifest through research collaborations, and it’s beneficial for us to access the vast wealth and depth of talent in academic schools,” said Mark Whorton, chief technology officer of GTRI. “From the theoretical research done on campus to the applied research we do at GTRI, we seek to leverage these great capabilities and bring applications into the national security space.”
The competitive, fully-funded fellowship selects projects that align with GTRI’s strategic research priorities. This year’s projects will lead to innovations in everything from securing side channels to maximizing the potential of heterogeneous hardware.
What most excites researchers is collaboration.
“I recently collaborated with the GTRI on seeding concepts,” said Muhannad Bakir, Professor Dan Fielder at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “This fellowship program allows us to accelerate and scale these ideas and generate the results needed to attract new collaborators from government and private industry.”
Faculty research pairs and proposals
Of the seven research fellowships selected, researchers from GTRI labs will co-advise students with a Georgia Tech faculty member.
What: Heterogeneous integration of electronic and photonic integrated circuits
WHO: Mouhannad Bakir, Paul Jo, Benjamin Yang
Unity: School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SEAL
Why is this important: This project will develop techniques to seamlessly combine integrated circuits (ICs) from different fields (photonics, radio frequency and digital) into a single package.
“The fellowship will support high-risk, high-reward research in advanced packaging and heterogeneous integration of electronic and photonic chips,” Bakir said. “The ability to heterogeneously integrate these single-chip functions will enable scalable, high-performance digital and radio-frequency systems. Specifically, we explore the co-packaging of photonics and silicon electronics using 2.5D and 3D interconnect technologies to enable seamless, low-loss, high-performance, and compact integration.
What: Integrated Circuits Resistant to Side-Channel Attacks
WHO: Saibal MukhopadhyayChristopher Clark
Unity: School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ENCRYPTE
Why is this important: Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are deployed in many national security-critical applications. Side-channel attacks based on power and electromagnetic emissions provide a physical channel to reveal secrets contained within an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and have become a key security threat to ASICs used in commercial applications. and the Ministry of Defence.
“Software-based safety methods are inadequate to inhibit SCA,” Mukhopadhyay said. “The proposed research will develop and demonstrate design methods and circuit techniques to build ASICs resistant to side-channel attacks.
What: Development of techniques for IPv6 Internet-wide analysis
WHO: Frank Li, Adonis Bovel
Unity: School of Cybersecurity and Policy, ENCRYPTE
Why is this important: The Internet consists of two main network protocols: IPv4 and the relatively new but widespread IPv6. Internet analysis allows researchers to assess security, but the techniques used for IPv4 do not work for IPv6. This research will systematically develop new techniques and systems for Internet-wide IPv6 analysis.
“All too often we hear about new vulnerabilities affecting software widely used on the Internet,” Bovell said. “Ideally, system administrators should patch or fix these vulnerabilities as they are discovered. This research helps provide us with an independent way to check how fast we are making these corrections and when we are failing.
What: Epigraphene edge-state terahertz micro-antennas
WHO: Walt de HeerJohn Hankinson
Units: School of Physics, TTY
Why is this important: Epigraphene on silicon carbide is one of the best platforms for high performance graphene electronics. This project will take advantage of the exceptional transport properties of these epigraphene ribbons to develop on-chip terahertz (THz) frequency graphene antennas. THz wireless transmission allows a significant increase in data throughput.
“We believe that epigraphene micro-antennas will provide significantly improved efficiency, output power, and transmission rates over micro-antennas made from other materials or even other forms of graphene that do not have not the protected edge state of epigraphene,” Hankinson said. “The fellowship will allow us to bring together experts in fundamental transport physics with experts in electronic systems engineering, which is critical to this effort.”
What: Creative use of Georgia Tech’s shock tube facility for various hypersonic flow tests
WHO: Devesh Ranjan, Krish Ahuja
Units: School of Mechanical Engineering, TTY
Why is this important: Hypersonic speeds are the future of jet propulsion and missiles and can potentially transport cargo and passengers. This project will explore the innovative use of an existing shock tube to produce flows approaching hypersonic conditions to conduct a range of tests on university-scale test models, including the characterization and control of high temperature and high velocity jet flows and their noise, cavity flows, and energy harvesting. New sensors and high temperature materials can also be tested.
“We want to stay in the hypersonic game and develop things that differentiate Georgia Tech from other universities,” Ahuja said. “This fellowship is to do something disruptive that aligns with current national security interests.”
What: Analog computing for low-power, adaptive and reconfigurable embedded classification and learning
WHO: Jennifer Hasler, Nelson Lourenco
Units: School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ACL
Why is this important: Modern radio frequency (RF) systems face two major design challenges: mission expansion with size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints, and spectrum density. The first challenge has led to a substantial push in converged RF systems that can perform a plurality of functions with a single set of reconfigurable hardware. The second challenge leads to a need for spectrum reuse, with hardware advances that can increase capacity in a single frequency band. Custom integrated circuits and adaptive algorithms are enabling technologies for these wideband, dynamically reconfigurable RF systems.
“Prof. Hasler’s team is recognized as an expert in the fields of programmable analog integrated circuits and signal processing algorithms, research areas directly applicable to converged RF systems,” Lourenço said. “Developments from this partnership will be highly relevant to multiple research initiatives at GTRI, enabling the Institute to leverage greater investments from our government and industry sponsors.”
WHO: J.-C., Ryan Westafer
What: Predicting DNA-Encoded Electromagnetic Responses (DNA PEER)
Units: School of Physics, ACL
Why is this important: DNA can serve as the building block of biological and synthetic materials, such as bacterial biofilms or DNA origami. This project will use electric fields to manipulate DNA to facilitate its control and detection.
“From nanoscale self-assembly to electromagnetism and communications, there is so much to learn and apply from biology,” Westafer said. “We are delighted to collaborate with the Simbac group of the School of Physics.”
About the GTRI Graduate Student Research Fellowship Program
The GTRI Graduate Student Scholarship Program is a competitive program for high-calibre Georgia Tech graduate students working in GTRI’s strategic research areas. The program aims to create collaborative relationships between academic units on campus and GTRI research laboratories. Graduate students will be chosen to work on research aligned with GTRI’s strategic technology priorities. The program will foster and cultivate long-term relationships between flawed scholars and GTRI researchers to fulfill the mission of creating leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. Find out more about the GTRI laboratories.