Dignitaries from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) Research, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) gathered virtually yesterday with the CEO and CTO of Edpative Computing, Inc. (ECI) to celebrate the kickoff of the newly-created ECI Transition Center (ECI-TC). In attendance were: Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Dean Cammy Abernathy, Associate Dean for Research Forrest Masters, ECE Professor and Chair John Harris, FICS Research Director Mark Tehranipoor, Edaptive CEO Mrs. Anju Chawla, Edaptive CTO Dr. Praveen Chawla, among others.
This unique partnership between the University of Florida (UF) and Edaptive Computing has two main goals. Firstly, the proposed center will continue the groundbreaking work taking place in FICS Research—using automation, computer vision, and machine learning to test and verify the designs of microelectronics in all phases of the lifecycle. This work is fundamentally aimed at verifying that hardware (IoT devices, chips, circuit boards, systems) has been manufactured to the exact specifications of the designers, that the system does not suffer from any hardware related vulnerabilities, and that the designs themselves have not been compromised in any way. These efforts to ascertain the trustworthiness of devices entering the supply chain have become increasingly critical as more and more manufacturing has moved to East Asia, where oversight is less stringent. This is especially critical for sensitive hardware used by the U.S. military, a key constituency for ECI. The joint center aims to harness the expertise of both FICS Research and Edaptive Computing to build a comprehensive set of technologies that can be used by designers and security engineers to ensure the security and trust of microelectronics.
In addition to being a research center, the ECI-TC aims to bring the results of its work directly to the real world. An equally important second goal of the center is the development of a skilled workforce prepared to excel in the hardware security space. The aim is to educate professionals, graduate and undergraduate students about microelectronic design and security, and prepare them for the next generation of electronics devices and systems to be designed and fabricated in the United States. In support of this second goal, students affiliated with the center will be able to work as employees of ECI and will have a full-time offer from ECI upon graduation.
The ECI-TC is born of a partnership between Dr. Mark Tehranipoor, Director of FICS Research and Intel Charles E. Young Endowed Chair Professor in Cybersecurity in UF’s ECE Department, and Edaptive’s founder and owner, Dr. Praveen Chawla and Mrs. Anju Chawla, respectively. In the relatively short space of two years, the three have forged a strong personal and professional relationship while collaborating on other projects. Over time, the three began to collectively envision this unique center. With the kickoff meeting, the center is one step closer to reality.
Based on the joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by ECI and UF, the future of the center is exciting. In broad terms, UF pledges to contribute 2000 sq. ft. of space and one staff person, while ECI pledges to sponsor in excess of $15 million in research spending and create a satellite office in Gainesville. The reach of the center will not be limited to UF—the vision for the center is to include other universities over time.