UB researcher Nicholas Cucciniello needs to make tomorrow’s HALs vitality environment friendly.
A PhD scholar within the Division of Supplies Design and Innovation, Cucciniello has been chosen as considered one of 44 winners of the 2022 awards from the US Division of Vitality Workplace of Science Graduate Scholar Analysis (SCGSR). The fellowships enable recipients to pursue a portion of their graduate thesis analysis in a DOE laboratory or facility.
Cucciniello’s choice for the award relies on numerous hours spent tinkering with obscure supplies. From synthetic neural gadgets to superconductors, he strives to maintain these constructing blocks maintaining tempo with dash expertise. In different phrases, it’ll assist tomorrow’s robots memorize extra with much less effort. Do not blame him if his work appears to be like like one thing pulled from the pages of “2001: A Area Odyssey.”
“My end-of-studies dissertation topic is non-volatile reminiscence with steel oxides. For this, we research and domesticate completely different supplies,” explains Cucciniello. “I do not simply work on that, as a result of our division is various. Our analysis group just lately printed an article on niobium nitride, a superconducting materials that can be utilized for quantum gadgets.
The SCGSR award marks a turning level in his profession.
“(The SCGSR award) is a milestone in my long-term profession,” says Cucciniello. “I can research and work together with world-renowned scientists on daily basis. I can see what a nationwide analysis middle appears to be like like. It is a nice alternative to peek behind the scenes.
Cucciniello started his thesis analysis at Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory (LANL) on November 21. At LANL, he’s engaged on the event of brain-like computer systems that run on much less vitality.
“Synthetic neural gadgets based mostly on threshold switching are made from 2D supplies and steel oxide movies,” says Cucciniello. “These supplies and their machine structure usually require excessive switching voltages. At LANL, I’ll work with vanadium oxide movies to attain low-switching energies akin to these within the mind.
Cucciniello says he owes his SCGSR award to his graduate advisor, Quanxi Jia, SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor and Nationwide Grid Professor of Supplies Analysis on the Division of Supplies Design and Innovation, a collaboration between the School of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering and Utilized Sciences.
“Dr. Jia emailed me in the future and advised me there was this DOE alternative,” Cucciniello recalled. “At the moment, like all doctoral college students, I used to be overwhelmed with work I had somewhat over a month to finish the applying.
What adopted had been days spent crafting the three-page consumer proposal with Jia and her eventual collaborating scientist, Aiping Chen, a LANL scientist. Cucciniello’s submission was to be as a part of his graduate thesis, however separate from the thesis subject. It additionally wanted to align with one of many SCGSR precedence analysis areas.
Cucciniello’s graduate thesis focuses on non-volatile reminiscence, the place gadgets retain data even when energy is eliminated. In the meantime, his LANL analysis will deal with risky reminiscence for synthetic neural gadgets.
“To place it merely, keep in mind to save lots of your photographs or notes on a USB key or exhausting drive; this information is saved and retained, even when the machine is just not powered. It is an instance of non-volatile reminiscence,” Cucciniello explains, making a easy distinction between the 2 laptop recollections. “With risky reminiscence, this may be regarded as short-term storage of information, the place there’s nothing left as soon as the ability is turned off.”
After Jia and Chen authorised the proposal, the applying was full. Then got here the lengthy wait.
“I did not assume I used to be going to get it,” Cucciniello says. “Then one morning I received an electronic mail saying I had it.”
It was 7:30 a.m. on a traditional weekday morning. Cucciniello was on his technique to his health club when his cellphone popped up with the acceptance electronic mail.
Brimming with pleasure, Cucciniello needed to name his mother and father, girlfriend and associates from his division at UB. He virtually gave up his coaching to go knock on Jia’s workplace door and inform the information.
“I began crying,” Cucciniello says. “See, it was life altering.”