2023 Walter G. Fredrickson Distinguished Interdisciplinary Lecture: Yiran Chen

“Synergistic Edge AI Optimization through Cross-Layer Design”
Thursday, April 6
LAR 310
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As the demand for real-time data processing increases and edge computing becomes more prevalent, there is an urgent need for efficient and effective AI optimization at the edge. Cross-layer design, which combines innovations across both hardware and algorithm, offers a promising solution to this challenge. In this presentation, we will discuss how cross-layer design can enable efficient and robust edge AI optimization in the context of federated learning. Specifically, we will demonstrate our solution for developing lightweight AI models using model compression and neural architecture search. We will also explore how these techniques can be integrated into a federated learning system, both on the server and client side, to improve efficiency and privacy. Finally, we will summarize the potential benefits and challenges of implementing this synergistic edge AI optimization approach. We hope our talk can offer some insights into the latest advancements in edge AI optimization and the potential of cross-layer design and federated learning to address real-world problems.


Dr. Yiran Chen received B.S (1998) and M.S. (2001) from Tsinghua University and Ph.D. (2005) from Purdue University. After five years in the industry, he joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2014, holding Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow. He is now the John Cocke Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University and serving as the director of the NSF AI Institute for Edge Computing Leveraging the Next-generation Networks (Athena), the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) for Alternative Sustainable and Intelligent Computing (ASIC), and the co-director of Duke Center for Computational Evolutionary Intelligence (DCEI). His group focuses on the research of new memory and storage systems, machine learning and neuromorphic computing, and mobile computing systems.

Dr. Chen has published one book and more than 500 technical publications and has been granted 96 US patents. He has served as the associate editor of more than a dozen international academic periodicals and served on the technical and organization committees of more than 60 international conferences. He is now serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine. He received 9 best paper awards, 1 best poster award, and 15 best paper nominations from reputable international conferences and workshops. He received numerous awards for his technical contributions and professional services such as the IEEE Computer Society Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award, etc. He has been the distinguished lecturer of IEEE CEDA and CAS. He is a Fellow of the ACM, IEEE, and AAAS, and now serves as the chair of ACM SIGDA.

About the Series

The Walter G. Fredrickson Distinguished Interdisciplinary Lecture Series is named in honor of Walter Fredrickson (BSEE ’57), whose long and illustrious career in the world of electronics and engineering serves as the inspiration for the interdisciplinary lecture series. After he received his BSEE (with a specialization in electronics), Fredrickson entered active duty with the Air Force Security Service. Upon finishing his service, he completed some graduate work in computer circuits and logic at the University of Maryland, ultimately joining Radiation, Inc., a small electronics company in Melbourne, Florida. There he designed airborne and ground based telemetry data systems, which led to engineering management responsibility of complex computer-based data processing, display and communications systems for military and space applications.

In 1968, after acquisition of Radiation by Harris-Intertype, he was selected to lead the development of a new line of text editing and ad layout products for the newspaper industry, which became the precursor of modern word processing and publication products and software. Mr. Fredrickson served as Chairman of the Florida High Technology & Industry Council’s Applied Research Program, and received the Governor’s Award for leadership of this industry/academia program.

During the last decade of Mr. Fredrickson’s nearly 40 year career with Harris, he became the senior corporate executive responsible for assisting all Harris divisions to improve the success rate of their new product/program activities, through emphasis on the product-to-market process with associated metrics, and a climate for innovation among interdisciplinary hardware, software and marketing teams.