While advancements in computing power are famously fast-paced, Natalie Enright Jerger, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, is developing so-called “approximate computing” and “hardware acceleration” techniques that will require as much as a decade of research before they can be applied in commercial settings.
Prof. Jerger says that receiving the Percy Edward Hart Professorship, worth $225,000 over three years, will allow her to undertake the research that may lead to much more energy-efficient processing, as well as advances in machine learning.
The professorship – one of seven awarded – comes from a $20-million bequest from the estate of alumnus Erwin Edward Hart (BASc 1940) to bolster early-career research and education at the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, and to provide enhanced opportunities for graduate students. The professorships are named in honour of Erwin and his late father, Percy.
Chandra Veer Singh, a professor of materials science and engineering and another Hart Professorship recipient, says the award will allow his team to expand its long-term renewable energy research. It will also provide leadership opportunities for younger academics trying to make a name for themselves in research. Until the Hart Professorships were introduced, Veer Singh says, Canada had fewer sources of multi-year, basic science funding designed to give early-stage researchers a boost than countries such as the U.S. and India. He commends the Hart family for filling this gap. “It’s an excellent opportunity for young researchers like me who have started to establish themselves but are not at the top level,” he says. “I really say thanks to them.”