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A call for AI data transparency

UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96) has co-founded a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which is advocating for transparency and regulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence.

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A call for AI data transparency Banner

Leading the charge to enhance power transfer

UW ECE Assistant Professor Jungwon Choi is developing more efficient power circuits to enhance the electric vehicle charging experience.

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Leading the charge to enhance power transfer Banner

Q&A: How to train AI when you don’t have enough data

Sarah McQuate from UW News recently interviewed UW ECE Professor Jenq-Neng Hwang about his research and how his team trains machine learning algorithms for artificial intelligence using limited data sets.

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Q&A: How to train AI when you don’t have enough data Banner

Bingzhao Li — bringing light and sound into computer chips

2023 Yang Award recipient Bingzhao Li is a postdoctoral research fellow in the UW Laboratory of Photonic Systems, which researches integrated photonic devices, optoelectronic materials and quantum photonics.

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Bingzhao Li — bringing light and sound into computer chips Banner

Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging

Ultra-thin meta-optics have the potential to make imaging systems lighter and thinner than ever. Using a new inverse design framework, a UW ECE-led research team has demonstrated broadband thermal imaging with meta-optics for a wide range of applications.

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Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging Banner

UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality

UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways.

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UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality Banner

News + Events

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ai-transparency/
A call for AI data transparency

A call for AI data transparency

UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96) has co-founded a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which is advocating for transparency and regulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/leading-the-charge-to-enhance-power-transfer/
https://www.washington.edu/news/2024/03/28/train-ai-machine-learning-when-you-dont-have-enough-data/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ultra-flat-optics/
Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging

Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging

Ultra-thin meta-optics have the potential to make imaging systems lighter and thinner than ever. Using a new inverse design framework, a UW ECE-led research team has demonstrated broadband thermal imaging with meta-optics for a wide range of applications.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/our-next-reality/
UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality

UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality

UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/the-integrator-2023-2024-prints/
Print issues of The Integrator are now available!

Print issues of The Integrator are now available!

Print issues of The Integrator, UW ECE’s flagship, annual publication, are now available! The magazine highlights the UW ECE community and covers stories about extraordinary students and their achievements, faculty research and discoveries, alumni news, events and more.

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                    [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News

[caption id="attachment_34126" align="alignright" width="575"]A black-and-white photo of a computer chip with the letters "AI" stamped on it, mounted to a motherboard UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96) has co-founded a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which is advocating for transparency and regulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence. / Photo by Igor Omilaev, courtesy of the Transparency Coalition.ai[/caption]

Artificial intelligence holds great promise as well as possible peril for society. This rapidly evolving technology stands to accelerate advances in science, engineering, and healthcare as well as improve efficiency and productivity in a vast range of industries. But AI also has serious downsides, which include the potential to spread misinformation and disinformation online, exacerbate algorithmic biases, compromise individual privacy, and even obliterate copyright protections for intellectual property.

It is the peril of AI that drew the attention of UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96), who has worked as a technology entrepreneur for decades and has held leadership positions in major tech companies that leverage AI, such as Amazon and Microsoft. Now, along with his co-founder Rob Eleveld, Jaisimha has created a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which seeks to address these concerns by advocating for greater transparency and regulation of the data used to train and inform AI and generative AI models, such as ChatGPT.

“Rob and I were concerned about the rollout of generative AI and how it was going. We were already seeing evidence of societal harm. And we knew that we had the expertise needed to help address some of these issues,” Jaisimha said. “Because of my work in computer vision and imaging when I was at the UW, I spent years studying and understanding pattern recognition, how it worked, and the mathematics behind it. I built early versions of these AI models that are similar to the ones that are out there now.”

[caption id="attachment_34130" align="alignleft" width="250"]Jai Jaisimha headshot UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha[/caption]

The roots of Jaisimha’s knowledge about AI models and the data used to train them goes back to his time as a doctoral student working with his adviser, UW ECE Professor Emeritus Eve Riskin, who is now the dean of undergraduate education in the electrical and computer engineering department at the Stevens Institute of Technology. With oversight by Riskin, Jaisimha applied statistical pattern recognition techniques to better understand datasets and how to use them to make online browsing a more interactive and personalized experience. During this time, he also had an internship at a startup that did research for government agencies, which taught him the importance of data curation as well as algorithmic model construction, testing and validation.

These experiences as a student carried over into his professional life, which has been defined by his entrepreneurial ventures and corporate leadership.

“When you’re building a company, it’s not just about making a cool demo,” Jaisimha said. “It’s about making sure you have the entire pipeline of AI model building in place: data collection, data cleansing, being rigorous about validating and testing your results, and automating performance monitoring. That way, you end up building a robust system. Those are all things I learned at UW ECE.”

The Transparency Coalition.ai

According to Jaisimha, there is a large amount of research available about ethical and responsible AI development, and many companies have even formed entire departments focused on the ethical implementation of AI in their products. However, profit incentives have interfered with these good intentions. Teams focused on ethical AI in companies are often shrunk or even shut down. And thoughtful research in this area is too often ignored by industry leaders in favor of getting products to market faster and increasing profits. Jaisimha and his colleagues at the Transparency Coalition.ai believe that the government has an important role to play in regulating AI and providing needed oversight in a highly competitive marketplace. They have chosen to focus their efforts on advocating for greater transparency in AI training data, which Jaisimha believes is key to promoting more ethical and responsible AI development. Jaisimha said that focusing on AI training data is important because today’s generative AI models are ingesting large amounts of uncurated data. This includes copyrighted material and content behind paywalls, in social media and on personal websites, and even illicit and illegal content, such as child pornography. This indiscriminate ingestion of large amounts of uncurated data makes generative AI systems prone to frequent and well-documented “hallucinations,” where the system provides warped images or wrong and misleading answers when prompted.
"Because I’m an affiliate professor in UW ECE, I’ve been able to tap into the wider UW ecosystem, whether it’s the RAISE group, or computer science and engineering, or linguistics, or law. There’s a lot of good thinking happening across the university, and I’m looking for ways to bring it forward to legislators and to the public." — UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha
In contrast, a generative AI model with a transparent, curated dataset is less prone to hallucinations, greatly reduces the risk for societal harm, and is customized for solving specific problems. In many cases, the curation of training data also optimizes the AI model to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Because of these facts, Jaisimha believes that transparent, regulated, and curated AI training data will not only be good for society, in the long-term, it will be good for business too. “If you want to solve real-world problems, you have to embrace the idea of either taking these big, generative AI models and refining them for a specific application or building the model in a way that acknowledges that need for customization from the beginning,” Jaisimha said. “We know it’s possible to implement some degree of constraint on AI training data. And I believe the result will be a thriving ecosystem of companies building technologies that will be more practical, useful, and focused on solving real-world problems.” The Transparency Coalition.ai has set its sights on state-level advocacy, and it is reaching out to legislators in Washington and California. According to Jaisimha, state governments can often move to implement policy more rapidly than the federal government. Washington and California are also headquarters for a high number of leading technology companies working with artificial intelligence, which widens the impact of policies and legislation enacted in these states nationally and internationally. Since its founding in October 2023, the Transparency Coalition.ai has already scored a significant victory. A bill establishing a new AI Task Force for the state of Washington was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee last month. Among its other mandates, the Task Force will be considering appropriate regulation for AI training data, which is something the Transparency Coalition.ai advocated for among legislators involved in establishing the group. At the UW, Jaisimha is collaborating with Professor Chirag Shah in the UW Information School, who runs the Responsibility in AI Systems and Experiences, or RAISE, team at the University. RAISE conducts high-quality research on ethical and responsible AI development, and Jaisimha is connecting the organization with Washington state legislators through the Transparency Coalition.ai to help better inform AI policy and regulation.

UW connections

Jaisimha became a UW ECE affiliate professor in September 2023, and going forward, he plans to retain and continue to grow his connections at the UW. In addition to being affiliated with RAISE and advising student teams in the Department’s Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship capstone program, known as ENGINE, he is involved in CoMotion at the UW. There, he is a mentor for students and faculty and is actively involved in the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, which helps to move UW inventions and innovations into commercial investment and development. Jaisimha also has several family connections to the University. His wife received her master’s degree in business administration from the Foster School of Business, and their eldest son will be graduating this year from UW ECE with a bachelor’s degree. Their youngest son is a sophomore studying informatics at the UW iSchool. “We say in our family that we ‘bleed purple.’ The four of us are deeply connected to the UW, and I have a strong sense of needing to pay it forward,” Jaisimha said. “I see both my affiliate work at UW ECE and my mentorship work at CoMotion as a form of giving back. The Transparency Coalition.ai is also a form of giving back to the community.” Jaisimha encourages students pursuing careers in AI development to not worry too much about whether what they are studying now will remain relevant in this fast-changing world. Instead, he notes there is a specific way of breaking down problems that engineering students learn, which is a useful skill to apply in many situations. He also recommends that students interested in AI explore edge technology, such as TinyML, which brings machine learning networks into resource-constrained devices. And he suggests that students consider taking statistics classes, which can help an ECE graduate stand out in fields related to AI and machine learning. In regard to his work with the Transparency Coalition.ai, Jaisimha and his co-founder are continuing their outreach to state legislators and seeking donor support for their efforts. He encourages everyone who can to get involved and contact their state legislators to let them know about the need for AI transparency and oversight. To this end, the Transparency Coalition.ai recently installed a bill tracker on their website, which helps make it easy for people to see what bills related to AI are active in their state. Jaisimha also plans to continue to bring pertinent information about AI development to government officials going forward. “Because I’m an affiliate professor in UW ECE, I’ve been able to tap into the wider UW ecosystem, whether it’s the RAISE group, or computer science and engineering, or linguistics, or law. There’s a lot of good thinking happening across the university, and I’m looking for ways to bring it forward to legislators and to the public,” Jaisimha said. “I’ve never stopped educating myself. Now that I’m back at the UW, I’m continuing my education and benefiting from being at one of the greatest institutions in the world.” For more information about UW ECE Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha and his advocacy work, visit the Transparency Coalition.ai website. [post_title] => A call for AI data transparency [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ai-transparency [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-04-11 16:13:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-04-11 23:13:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34124 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34045 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2024-04-05 11:33:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-04-05 18:33:54 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_34048" align="alignright" width="523"] UW ECE Assistant Professor Jungwon Choi's research focuses on designing power circuits that can receive electrical currents at high frequencies from a charging source and transfer the energy to the battery. Shown above, Choi with UW ECE graduate student Manas Palmal.[/caption] Adapted from an article by Brooke Fisher, Photos by Dennis Wise | UW College of Engineering Imagine rolling into a parking spot and your electric vehicle (EV) automatically begins to charge, quickly and without cables, thanks to a compact charging station on the ground. UW ECE Assistant Professor Jungwon Choi can do more than envision it — she’s developing the technology. “Charging time is a barrier for people buying EVs,” Choi says. “I’m interested in how we can make more efficient power circuits to charge the battery in electric vehicles.”
To enhance EV charging, Choi is involved in research on many levels. In addition to advancing the design of spiral coils for high-frequency wireless charging — in which power is transmitted electromagnetically between coils located in a vehicle and charging station — her primary research focuses on designing power circuits that can receive electrical currents at high frequencies from a charging source and transfer the energy to the battery. [caption id="attachment_34073" align="alignleft" width="418"] UW ECE graduate student Ghovindo Surya turns the knob on an oscilloscope to test the electrical currents received by the power circuit.[/caption] “We want to have high efficiency,” Choi explains. “When we have 100% power at input and the battery receives only 80% power, then it’s lost as heat. It’s harmful for the system and energy is lost.” A unique feature of power converters that Choi’s team is working to advance is the two-way flow of energy, which would enable EV batteries to store energy that could be utilized as backup power. “In an emergency situation, or in case of a blackout, we could draw power from a vehicle into a house,” Choi says. Learn more about how UW engineering research is driven to advance vehicle electrification on the UW College of Engineering website. [post_title] => Leading the charge to enhance power transfer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => leading-the-charge-to-enhance-power-transfer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-04-05 11:33:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-04-05 18:33:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34045 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34037 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-03-29 10:34:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-03-29 17:34:16 [post_content] => [post_title] => Q&A: How to train AI when you don’t have enough data [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => jenq-neng-hwang-ai-training [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-29 10:46:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-29 17:46:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34037 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33933 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-03-14 09:11:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-03-14 16:11:19 [post_content] => By Anna Wirth-Singh | UW Department of Physics [caption id="attachment_33938" align="alignright" width="550"]Hand wearing a purple glove holding a conventional refractive lens and a wafer disc containing ultra-thin metaoptics Ultra-thin meta-optics have the potential to make imaging systems lighter and thinner than ever. Using a new inverse design framework, a UW ECE-led research team has demonstrated broadband thermal imaging with meta-optics for applications ranging from consumer electronics to thermal sensing and night vision. Shown above, a side view of a fabricated wafer containing meta-optics held above a conventional refractive lens. The meta-optics were developed by a multi-institutional research team led by UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar. Photo by Anna Wirth-Singh.[/caption] Long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) imaging holds critical significance across many applications, from consumer electronics to defense and national security. It finds applications in night vision, remote sensing, and long-range imaging. However, the conventional refractive lenses employed in these imaging systems are bulky and heavy, which is undesirable for almost all applications. Compounding this issue is the fact that many LWIR refractive lenses are crafted from expensive and limited-supply materials, such as germanium. The next generation of optical systems demands lenses that are not only lighter and thinner than ever before, but also uphold uncompromising image quality. This demand has fueled a surge of efforts to develop ultra-thin sub-wavelength diffractive optics, known as meta-optics. Meta-optics, in their simplest form, consist of arrays of sub-wavelength scale nanopillars on a flat surface, with each pillar introducing a local phase shift to light passing through. By strategically arranging these pillars, the light can be controlled to produce steering and lensing. While conventional refractive lenses are close to a centimeter thick, meta-optics are about 500 microns thick, which dramatically reduces the overall thickness of the optics. However, one challenge with meta-optics is strong chromatic aberrations. That is, light of different wavelengths interacts with the structure in different ways, and the result is typically a lens that cannot simultaneously focus light of different wavelengths in the same focal plane. Largely because of this issue, meta-optics have not yet fully replaced their refractive counterparts despite the benefits in size and weight reduction. In particular, the area of LWIR meta-optics is relatively unexplored compared to visible wavelength meta-optics, and the potential advantages of meta-optics over conventional refractive lenses are significant given the unique and extensive applications of this wavelength range. [caption id="attachment_33941" align="alignleft" width="300"]Arka Majumdar headshot UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar. Photo by Ryan Hoover.[/caption] Now, in a new paper published in Nature Communications, a multi-institutional team of researchers, led by UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar, has introduced a new design framework termed “MTF-engineering.” The modulation transfer function, or MTF, describes how well a lens maintains image contrast as a function of spatial frequency. This framework addresses the challenges associated with broadband meta-optics to design and experimentally demonstrate thermal imaging with meta-optics in laboratory and real-world settings. The team built upon already successful inverse design techniques by developing a framework which optimizes both the pillar shape and the global arrangement simultaneously. UW ECE-affiliated team members included recent alumni Luocheng Huang (the paper’s lead author) and Zheyi Han, postdoctoral researchers Saswata Mukherjee, Johannes Fröch, and Quentin Tanguy as well as UW ECE Professor Karl Böhringer, who is the director of the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems at the UW.  

Leveraging artificial intelligence and a new inverse design framework

[caption id="attachment_33951" align="alignright" width="550"]A hand wearing a white glove holding a fabricated disk containing several small discs, which contain metaoptics. Below this photo are two grayscale photos of nanopillars. Meta-optics, in their simplest form, consist of arrays of sub-wavelength scale pillars on a flat surface, with each pillar introducing a local phase shift to light passing through. By strategically arranging these pillars, the light can be controlled to produce steering and lensing. (Above) A full view of a fabricated wafer containing meta-optics. (Below) Scanning electron microscope images of the nanopillars contained within the team’s meta-optics. These meta-optics contain both complex light scatterers (left) and simple scatterers (right). Photos provided by Anna Wirth-Singh.[/caption] One key innovation in the research team’s approach is the use of artificial intelligence — a deep neural network (DNN) model — to map between pillar shape and phase. In an inverse design process for large area optics, it is not computationally feasible to simulate how the light interacts with each pillar at each iteration. To solve this problem, the authors simulated a large library of nanopillars (also called “meta-atoms”) and used the simulated data to train a DNN. The DNN enabled a quick mapping between scatterer and phase in the optimization loop, allowing the inverse design of large-area optics containing millions of micron-scale pillars. Another key innovation in this work is the figure of merit (FoM), leading to the framework being termed “MTF-engineering.” In inverse design, one defines an FoM and computationally optimizes the structure or arrangement to maximize the FoM. However, it is often not intuitive why the produced result is optimal. For this work, the authors leveraged their expertise in meta-optics to define an FoM that is intuitive. Majumdar explained, “The figure of merit is related to the area under the MTF curve. The idea here is to pass as much information as possible through the lens, which is captured in the MTF. Then, combined with a light computational backend, we can achieve a high-quality image.” He continued, “The figure of merit reflects what we intuitively know about optics. This particular FoM is optimized when all the wavelengths perform equally well, thus constraining our optics to have uniform performance over the specified wavelengths without explicitly defining uniformity as an optimization criterion.” This approach, combining intuition from meta-optics and a light computational backend, significantly improves performance compared to simple metalenses. The authors fabricated their designed optics from a single silicon wafer, which is promising for future applications involving germanium-free LWIR imaging systems. While acknowledging that there is still room for improvement to achieve imaging quality comparable to commercial refractive lens systems, this work represents a significant step toward that goal. The researchers have generously made their MTF-engineering framework, named “metabox,” available online via GitHub, inviting others to use it for designing their own meta-optics. The research team expressed excitement about the potential works that may emerge from the utilization of metabox in the broader scientific community. This article is an adaptation of a blog post available at Springer Nature Research Communities. For more information about the research described above read, “Broadband thermal imaging using meta-optics” in Nature Communications or contact UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar. [post_title] => Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ultra-flat-optics [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-14 09:14:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-14 16:14:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=33933 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33767 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-02-29 09:22:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-02-29 17:22:53 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_33785" align="alignright" width="575"]Alvin Graylin in a business suit, sitting at a table UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways. He also is scheduled to be the honored guest speaker at this year’s UW ECE Graduation ceremony.[/caption] UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is looking ahead. And what he sees coming in technology development over the next decade has given him reasons for both hope and concern, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence and extended reality, or XR, which encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality environments. “We’re in a tenuous time in this society, where AI and XR is growing so quickly that it will be very difficult for society to cope, from cultural, economic and geopolitical perspectives,” Graylin said. “The decisions that we make as a species in the next five to 10 years about how we handle this technology will impact the next thousand years in terms of how humanity will progress.” That last statement may sound hard to believe, but Graylin is an influential technology pioneer, executive, entrepreneur, and thought leader who got his start in the semiconductor industry and has well over 30 years’ experience creating, developing, and delivering products based on AI and XR. His career is international in scope, spanning the U.S., China, and Taiwan, and it includes leadership roles at companies in all three countries. Currently, Graylin is the Global VP of Development for HTC, a Taiwanese consumer electronics company that is a world leader in the development of virtual reality and augmented reality platforms. Part of his job at HTC entails serving as co-head of the ViveX VR Accelerator, which is the company’s global program for investing in startups at the intersection of virtual reality, augmented reality, AI and 5G technologies. He is also vice-chairman of the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance in China and president of the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance, which brings XR investment opportunities to its member corporations and venture capitalists.
“We’re in a tenuous time in this society, where AI and XR is growing so quickly that it will be very difficult for society to cope, from cultural, economic and geopolitical perspectives.” — UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin
Graylin’s entrepreneurial and leadership experience is extensive. He has founded four venture-backed startups in areas ranging from AI-based natural language search to big-data AI analytics across China and the U.S. As an investor, he has been involved in funding over 100 startups. He is a much sought-after speaker, who is frequently featured at leading international conferences and in the media on topics relating to AI, XR, entrepreneurship, and for his insights on the Chinese market. He also is scheduled to be the honored guest speaker at this year’s UW ECE Graduation ceremony. Now, Graylin is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of AI and XR technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways.

Our Next Reality

[caption id="attachment_33789" align="alignright" width="350"]Our Next Reality book cover Graylin’s book, “Our Next Reality: How the AI-powered Metaverse will Reshape the World,” will be released through Amazon Kindle on March 5, Audible on March 6, and it will be available in print June 4 this year.[/caption] “Our Next Reality: How the AI-powered Metaverse will Reshape the World” explores 13 questions about AI and the metaverse (today’s internet built out as an XR environment), which Graylin debates with his co-author Louis Rosenberg, who was an early pioneer of virtual and augmented reality development and is a longtime AI researcher. It also includes a foreword by renowned author Neal Stephenson, who coined the term “metaverse” in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” and section contributions from respected industry thought leaders. The book already has received several favorable reviews from those in the vanguard of science and technology, such as Ray Kurzweil, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Dava Newman. Graylin said that he and Rosenberg wrote the book with three audiences in mind: government leaders and policy makers, those working in the AI and XR industries, and the next generation of scientists and engineers. “I’ve created and brought to market a number of technology products that have impacted hundreds of millions of people,” Graylin said. “Writing this book is a way of sharing some of my experience and knowledge, and hopefully, it might inspire a young person to do the right thing when it comes to AI and XR.” Graylin said that he and Rosenberg designed the book to help better inform those in government who are involved with incentivizing and regulating the AI and XR industries but who might not have a scientific or technical background. For those working in AI and XR, Graylin hopes the book convinces them to put in safeguards when designing products to protect end-users and the public. The book also emphasizes the importance of ethical technology development. Graylin said that in addition to motivating the next generation of scientists and engineers to consider the importance of ethics when it comes to AI and XR, he would like to inspire them to realize that they will be entering a world through the AI-powered metaverse that will be more amazing than anything people living today, or prior generations, have ever seen.
“I am optimistic, and I feel like we have the potential to get to a good long-term outcome when it comes to AI and XR development, but only if we have the determination to do the right thing and consciously work at it all along the way.” — UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin
In line with his forward-looking viewpoint, Graylin also chose to write the book for a fourth audience that hasn’t yet come into existence — an artificial general intelligence, or AGI, which is a sentient AI system that possesses intelligence equal to or greater than that of a human. “There is a small section of the book that is written for an AGI learning agent, so that if it scans this information, it can see what we are trying to do,” Graylin said. “This information, hopefully, will help the AGI see its position as our ‘descendant’ and motivate it to treat human beings as its ancestors, in a positive way.” Graylin and his co-author see the confluence of AI and the metaverse as a game-changer, capable of revolutionizing the education system, government, and almost every industry in existence. Both are concerned about the speed of AI development today. “If AI continues to progress at the rate we’re currently seeing, it will be able to replace most of the labor out there in about a decade, whether it’s cognitive or manual labor. It means that our relationship with our jobs and occupations will be drastically changed,” Graylin said. “In the past, when we’ve had other industrial revolutions, they’ve happened over decades. That was enough time to allow society to adapt and adjust. But this revolution will happen so quickly that it will be very difficult for societies to adjust and create new outlets for their people’s energy.” In the book, Graylin talks about the potential of the AI-powered metaverse to create purpose and opportunities for people around the world, especially for those who have less access to real-world opportunities. However, both he and Rosenberg are concerned that the current, hyper-competitive model between companies and nations for AI development is counterproductive, and in the long-term, dangerous. “Essentially, if one company or one country wins this race, we all lose, as a society and a world community,” Graylin said. “The key is that we cannot let this race start, because if it starts, somebody will win, and whoever the winner is will be too tempted to use the dominant AI technology they have developed in selfish ways.” As an antidote to this possible outcome, and to prepare for the coming convergence of AI and the metaverse, Graylin recommends more international cooperation in the design, development, and implementation of AI and XR as well as cooperative effort creating ethical and safety guidelines for these powerful technologies. He said that working to incorporate diverse representation of people and ideas into AI systems is also very important, as this will help expand system knowledge and perspective, reducing biases and potential for harm. “I’m actually not afraid of a super intelligent AGI system being developed because, by definition, that system will have enough knowledge and experience built-in to make wise, compassionate decisions,” Graylin said. “I’m afraid of the young and impetuous AI system that has been fed a limited, biased dataset but still has the power to have a real impact on human lives.” Graylin said that people need to be thoughtful about what data they are feeding to AI systems, and that scientists and engineers need to be careful about what tools they give AI systems access to — in a manner somewhat akin to raising children responsibly. “To be honest, I think we are creating our children, the next evolution of intelligence,” Graylin said. “I am optimistic, and I feel like we have the potential to get to a good long-term outcome when it comes to AI and XR development, but only if we have the determination to do the right thing and consciously work at it all along the way.”

Positive role models, UW connections

[caption id="attachment_33794" align="alignright" width="350"]UW Professor Emeritus Tom Furness is holding a virtual reality headset and standing next to Alvin Graylin in front of the HIT Lab Graylin with UW Professor Emeritus Tom Furness, who is holding a Vive Focus virtual reality headset. Furness is a pioneer in human interface technology and is well-known in the tech sector as the “Grandfather of Virtual Reality.”[/caption] To that end, Graylin is on the Science and Ethics Council at the Virtual World Society, which provides guidance for the responsible development and adoption of emerging technologies, working to ensure that they will benefit society as a whole. This organization was founded by Tom Furness, who is a Professor Emeritus in the industrial and systems engineering department at the UW and was a UW ECE adjunct professor during his tenure at the University. Furness is a pioneer in human interface technology and is well-known in the tech sector as the “Grandfather of Virtual Reality.” Graylin built his foundation in virtual reality research when he was an undergraduate student working with Furness in the Human Interface Technology Lab. He considers Furness to be a formative role model and today, a friend and colleague. “I’ve joined Tom’s organization to help him spread the message of how to utilize immersive technologies for creating a better society,” Graylin said. “I think that ties back into the questions and issues Louis and I have written about in our book.” Graylin noted that he has benefited over the years from positive, accomplished role models like Furness, both at the UW and within his own family. His father was a well-known artist in China and the U.S., and before he was born, his mother co-founded two leading ballet schools in the country — the Guangzhou and Shanghai School of Dance. The latter was for the premier ballet company in Beijing, China at the time. In the early 1980s, his parents fled oppression stemming from the Cultural Revolution in China and immigrated to the U.S. when he was a child. The family chose to settle in the Seattle area, and he and his brother, Will Graylin, followed parallel paths. Both showed an interest and aptitude for technology, both graduated from the UW, and later, MIT, and then went on to successful careers in the tech sector, becoming leaders in their respective fields. Most recently, the brothers spoke on a panel together at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show, commonly known as CES. According to Graylin, his father instilled within him and his brother a deep sense of purpose. “My dad’s theory was that everyone is here on earth to contribute in some way, to make society and the world better, and that we should find a way to maximize whatever that impact is,” Graylin said. “He told me that I needed to find whatever it was that I was good at, so I could make the biggest contribution I could, so that the world would be a better place after I am gone. That has been my driving purpose since I was a child.” As one might imagine, with an inner purpose like that, Graylin was and is a hard worker. He said he has always held at least a part-time job since he was 10 years old. As an undergraduate at the UW, he built and sold computers to help finance his education. He also chose to study electrical engineering over aeronautics and aerospace engineering because he believed EE was more practical and served a broader market. That way, he thought he would have more potential to do what his father asked him to do, which was to maximize his impact in the world. At UW ECE, Graylin focused on studying virtual reality as applied to education markets and parallel processing computer architecture design applied to neural network AI applications. He said that he especially enjoyed his computer architecture course, and it was part of what brought him to his first full-time job at Intel after he graduated. Over the course of his career, Graylin has returned to UW ECE several times to give talks to students. He also has been an active alumnus, regularly participating in alumni events, and when his career was based in China, he was a member of the UW alumni club in both Shanghai and Beijing. “UW ECE provided a demanding, but well-balanced and well-structured education. I never felt like I didn’t have a resource that another school might have, and I didn’t feel limited in any way,” Graylin said. “It’s also nice to see the progress the UW has made over the last three decades. It’s definitely becoming a lot more recognized as a global powerhouse of education. It makes me proud to say I’m a UW ECE graduate.”

Moving into the next reality

[caption id="attachment_33798" align="alignright" width="550"]Three men sit in chairs on a stage in front of a screen at the 2024 CES. The man in the center, Alvin Graylin, holds a virtual reality headset. Alvin Graylin (center) shares the stage with his brother Will Graylin (right). The brothers spoke on a panel at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show, commonly known as CES. Alvin Graylin is holding a Vive XR Elite headset. XR stands for “extended reality,” which encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality immersive technologies.[/caption] Now, after 18 years working in China, Graylin has moved back to Seattle. In addition to his day job at HTC, he is busy promoting the release of his new book, and he plans to spend more time with his two daughters — one who graduated from the UW last year and one who will graduate from the UW this year. Both of his daughters plan to stay in the Pacific Northwest. When asked what he would recommend for students interested in pursuing a career that blends AI with XR, Graylin said that there is no substitute for hands-on experience. “I think the key is that you have to go and do it,” Graylin said. “Go play with the tools, go play with the devices, go make something, versus just attending lectures and doing class projects.” He also advises students to make it a point to read as much as they can, both within and beyond the scope of their major, which he said can help students make connections between their focus area and the world around them. Graylin emphasized the value of entrepreneurial experience for those beginning their career, which he believes can provide knowledge outside the scope of a corporate job and can make any recent graduate a more well-rounded person. Overall, although he acknowledges the many challenges on the road ahead, Graylin remains optimistic and excited about the future for AI and XR and the opportunities these immersive technologies could provide for the next generation of scientists and engineers as well as the world at-large. “I believe that an AI-powered metaverse could allow us to get to a place where our basic needs will be satisfied as individuals and as a society, and it could enable us, over the next few hundred years, to solve mysteries of the universe that have perplexed us since the beginning of time,” Graylin said. “I think that could be a pretty amazing change in terms of purpose for people today. We can use the AI-powered metaverse to help people to think higher and encourage them to work toward fulfilling their destinies as intelligent beings.” Visit the Our Next Reality website for more information about Alvin Graylin’s new book. The website includes a link to “Our Next Reality AI,”  an OpenAI ChatGPT large language model that was customized by Graylin to be an expert at answering questions about the convergence of AI and immersive technologies.  [post_title] => UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => our-next-reality [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-02-29 09:22:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-02-29 17:22:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=33767 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33751 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2024-02-14 15:42:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-02-14 23:42:31 [post_content] => Read the latest issue of The Integrator, UW ECE's annual magazine, which covers faculty, student and alumni news, research and more! The magazine is online and print copies are now available at the ECE front office.  The Integrator 2023- 2024 magazine [post_title] => Print issues of The Integrator are now available! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-integrator-2023-2024-prints [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-02-15 10:39:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-02-15 18:39:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=33751 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [_numposts:protected] => 6 [_rendered:protected] => 1 [_classes:protected] => Array ( [0] => view-block [1] => block--spotlight-robust-news ) [_finalHTML:protected] =>
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ai-transparency/
A call for AI data transparency

A call for AI data transparency

UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96) has co-founded a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which is advocating for transparency and regulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/leading-the-charge-to-enhance-power-transfer/
https://www.washington.edu/news/2024/03/28/train-ai-machine-learning-when-you-dont-have-enough-data/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ultra-flat-optics/
Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging

Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging

Ultra-thin meta-optics have the potential to make imaging systems lighter and thinner than ever. Using a new inverse design framework, a UW ECE-led research team has demonstrated broadband thermal imaging with meta-optics for a wide range of applications.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/our-next-reality/
UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality

UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality

UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/the-integrator-2023-2024-prints/
Print issues of The Integrator are now available!

Print issues of The Integrator are now available!

Print issues of The Integrator, UW ECE’s flagship, annual publication, are now available! The magazine highlights the UW ECE community and covers stories about extraordinary students and their achievements, faculty research and discoveries, alumni news, events and more.

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This rapidly evolving technology stands to accelerate advances in science, engineering, and healthcare as well as improve efficiency and productivity in a vast range of industries. But AI also has serious downsides, which include the potential to spread misinformation and disinformation online, exacerbate algorithmic biases, compromise individual privacy, and even obliterate copyright protections for intellectual property. It is the peril of AI that drew the attention of UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96), who has worked as a technology entrepreneur for decades and has held leadership positions in major tech companies that leverage AI, such as Amazon and Microsoft. Now, along with his co-founder Rob Eleveld, Jaisimha has created a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which seeks to address these concerns by advocating for greater transparency and regulation of the data used to train and inform AI and generative AI models, such as ChatGPT. “Rob and I were concerned about the rollout of generative AI and how it was going. We were already seeing evidence of societal harm. And we knew that we had the expertise needed to help address some of these issues,” Jaisimha said. “Because of my work in computer vision and imaging when I was at the UW, I spent years studying and understanding pattern recognition, how it worked, and the mathematics behind it. I built early versions of these AI models that are similar to the ones that are out there now.” [caption id="attachment_34130" align="alignleft" width="250"]Jai Jaisimha headshot UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha[/caption] The roots of Jaisimha’s knowledge about AI models and the data used to train them goes back to his time as a doctoral student working with his adviser, UW ECE Professor Emeritus Eve Riskin, who is now the dean of undergraduate education in the electrical and computer engineering department at the Stevens Institute of Technology. With oversight by Riskin, Jaisimha applied statistical pattern recognition techniques to better understand datasets and how to use them to make online browsing a more interactive and personalized experience. During this time, he also had an internship at a startup that did research for government agencies, which taught him the importance of data curation as well as algorithmic model construction, testing and validation. These experiences as a student carried over into his professional life, which has been defined by his entrepreneurial ventures and corporate leadership. “When you’re building a company, it’s not just about making a cool demo,” Jaisimha said. “It’s about making sure you have the entire pipeline of AI model building in place: data collection, data cleansing, being rigorous about validating and testing your results, and automating performance monitoring. That way, you end up building a robust system. Those are all things I learned at UW ECE.”

The Transparency Coalition.ai

According to Jaisimha, there is a large amount of research available about ethical and responsible AI development, and many companies have even formed entire departments focused on the ethical implementation of AI in their products. However, profit incentives have interfered with these good intentions. Teams focused on ethical AI in companies are often shrunk or even shut down. And thoughtful research in this area is too often ignored by industry leaders in favor of getting products to market faster and increasing profits. Jaisimha and his colleagues at the Transparency Coalition.ai believe that the government has an important role to play in regulating AI and providing needed oversight in a highly competitive marketplace. They have chosen to focus their efforts on advocating for greater transparency in AI training data, which Jaisimha believes is key to promoting more ethical and responsible AI development. Jaisimha said that focusing on AI training data is important because today’s generative AI models are ingesting large amounts of uncurated data. This includes copyrighted material and content behind paywalls, in social media and on personal websites, and even illicit and illegal content, such as child pornography. This indiscriminate ingestion of large amounts of uncurated data makes generative AI systems prone to frequent and well-documented “hallucinations,” where the system provides warped images or wrong and misleading answers when prompted.
"Because I’m an affiliate professor in UW ECE, I’ve been able to tap into the wider UW ecosystem, whether it’s the RAISE group, or computer science and engineering, or linguistics, or law. There’s a lot of good thinking happening across the university, and I’m looking for ways to bring it forward to legislators and to the public." — UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha
In contrast, a generative AI model with a transparent, curated dataset is less prone to hallucinations, greatly reduces the risk for societal harm, and is customized for solving specific problems. In many cases, the curation of training data also optimizes the AI model to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Because of these facts, Jaisimha believes that transparent, regulated, and curated AI training data will not only be good for society, in the long-term, it will be good for business too. “If you want to solve real-world problems, you have to embrace the idea of either taking these big, generative AI models and refining them for a specific application or building the model in a way that acknowledges that need for customization from the beginning,” Jaisimha said. “We know it’s possible to implement some degree of constraint on AI training data. And I believe the result will be a thriving ecosystem of companies building technologies that will be more practical, useful, and focused on solving real-world problems.” The Transparency Coalition.ai has set its sights on state-level advocacy, and it is reaching out to legislators in Washington and California. According to Jaisimha, state governments can often move to implement policy more rapidly than the federal government. Washington and California are also headquarters for a high number of leading technology companies working with artificial intelligence, which widens the impact of policies and legislation enacted in these states nationally and internationally. Since its founding in October 2023, the Transparency Coalition.ai has already scored a significant victory. A bill establishing a new AI Task Force for the state of Washington was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee last month. Among its other mandates, the Task Force will be considering appropriate regulation for AI training data, which is something the Transparency Coalition.ai advocated for among legislators involved in establishing the group. At the UW, Jaisimha is collaborating with Professor Chirag Shah in the UW Information School, who runs the Responsibility in AI Systems and Experiences, or RAISE, team at the University. RAISE conducts high-quality research on ethical and responsible AI development, and Jaisimha is connecting the organization with Washington state legislators through the Transparency Coalition.ai to help better inform AI policy and regulation.

UW connections

Jaisimha became a UW ECE affiliate professor in September 2023, and going forward, he plans to retain and continue to grow his connections at the UW. In addition to being affiliated with RAISE and advising student teams in the Department’s Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship capstone program, known as ENGINE, he is involved in CoMotion at the UW. There, he is a mentor for students and faculty and is actively involved in the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, which helps to move UW inventions and innovations into commercial investment and development. Jaisimha also has several family connections to the University. His wife received her master’s degree in business administration from the Foster School of Business, and their eldest son will be graduating this year from UW ECE with a bachelor’s degree. Their youngest son is a sophomore studying informatics at the UW iSchool. “We say in our family that we ‘bleed purple.’ The four of us are deeply connected to the UW, and I have a strong sense of needing to pay it forward,” Jaisimha said. “I see both my affiliate work at UW ECE and my mentorship work at CoMotion as a form of giving back. The Transparency Coalition.ai is also a form of giving back to the community.” Jaisimha encourages students pursuing careers in AI development to not worry too much about whether what they are studying now will remain relevant in this fast-changing world. Instead, he notes there is a specific way of breaking down problems that engineering students learn, which is a useful skill to apply in many situations. He also recommends that students interested in AI explore edge technology, such as TinyML, which brings machine learning networks into resource-constrained devices. And he suggests that students consider taking statistics classes, which can help an ECE graduate stand out in fields related to AI and machine learning. In regard to his work with the Transparency Coalition.ai, Jaisimha and his co-founder are continuing their outreach to state legislators and seeking donor support for their efforts. He encourages everyone who can to get involved and contact their state legislators to let them know about the need for AI transparency and oversight. To this end, the Transparency Coalition.ai recently installed a bill tracker on their website, which helps make it easy for people to see what bills related to AI are active in their state. Jaisimha also plans to continue to bring pertinent information about AI development to government officials going forward. “Because I’m an affiliate professor in UW ECE, I’ve been able to tap into the wider UW ecosystem, whether it’s the RAISE group, or computer science and engineering, or linguistics, or law. There’s a lot of good thinking happening across the university, and I’m looking for ways to bring it forward to legislators and to the public,” Jaisimha said. “I’ve never stopped educating myself. Now that I’m back at the UW, I’m continuing my education and benefiting from being at one of the greatest institutions in the world.” For more information about UW ECE Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha and his advocacy work, visit the Transparency Coalition.ai website. [post_title] => A call for AI data transparency [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ai-transparency [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-04-11 16:13:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-04-11 23:13:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34124 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34045 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2024-04-05 11:33:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-04-05 18:33:54 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_34048" align="alignright" width="523"] UW ECE Assistant Professor Jungwon Choi's research focuses on designing power circuits that can receive electrical currents at high frequencies from a charging source and transfer the energy to the battery. Shown above, Choi with UW ECE graduate student Manas Palmal.[/caption] Adapted from an article by Brooke Fisher, Photos by Dennis Wise | UW College of Engineering Imagine rolling into a parking spot and your electric vehicle (EV) automatically begins to charge, quickly and without cables, thanks to a compact charging station on the ground. UW ECE Assistant Professor Jungwon Choi can do more than envision it — she’s developing the technology. “Charging time is a barrier for people buying EVs,” Choi says. “I’m interested in how we can make more efficient power circuits to charge the battery in electric vehicles.”
To enhance EV charging, Choi is involved in research on many levels. In addition to advancing the design of spiral coils for high-frequency wireless charging — in which power is transmitted electromagnetically between coils located in a vehicle and charging station — her primary research focuses on designing power circuits that can receive electrical currents at high frequencies from a charging source and transfer the energy to the battery. [caption id="attachment_34073" align="alignleft" width="418"] UW ECE graduate student Ghovindo Surya turns the knob on an oscilloscope to test the electrical currents received by the power circuit.[/caption] “We want to have high efficiency,” Choi explains. “When we have 100% power at input and the battery receives only 80% power, then it’s lost as heat. It’s harmful for the system and energy is lost.” A unique feature of power converters that Choi’s team is working to advance is the two-way flow of energy, which would enable EV batteries to store energy that could be utilized as backup power. “In an emergency situation, or in case of a blackout, we could draw power from a vehicle into a house,” Choi says. Learn more about how UW engineering research is driven to advance vehicle electrification on the UW College of Engineering website. [post_title] => Leading the charge to enhance power transfer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => leading-the-charge-to-enhance-power-transfer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-04-05 11:33:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-04-05 18:33:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34045 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34037 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-03-29 10:34:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-03-29 17:34:16 [post_content] => [post_title] => Q&A: How to train AI when you don’t have enough data [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => jenq-neng-hwang-ai-training [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-29 10:46:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-29 17:46:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34037 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33933 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-03-14 09:11:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-03-14 16:11:19 [post_content] => By Anna Wirth-Singh | UW Department of Physics [caption id="attachment_33938" align="alignright" width="550"]Hand wearing a purple glove holding a conventional refractive lens and a wafer disc containing ultra-thin metaoptics Ultra-thin meta-optics have the potential to make imaging systems lighter and thinner than ever. Using a new inverse design framework, a UW ECE-led research team has demonstrated broadband thermal imaging with meta-optics for applications ranging from consumer electronics to thermal sensing and night vision. Shown above, a side view of a fabricated wafer containing meta-optics held above a conventional refractive lens. The meta-optics were developed by a multi-institutional research team led by UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar. Photo by Anna Wirth-Singh.[/caption] Long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) imaging holds critical significance across many applications, from consumer electronics to defense and national security. It finds applications in night vision, remote sensing, and long-range imaging. However, the conventional refractive lenses employed in these imaging systems are bulky and heavy, which is undesirable for almost all applications. Compounding this issue is the fact that many LWIR refractive lenses are crafted from expensive and limited-supply materials, such as germanium. The next generation of optical systems demands lenses that are not only lighter and thinner than ever before, but also uphold uncompromising image quality. This demand has fueled a surge of efforts to develop ultra-thin sub-wavelength diffractive optics, known as meta-optics. Meta-optics, in their simplest form, consist of arrays of sub-wavelength scale nanopillars on a flat surface, with each pillar introducing a local phase shift to light passing through. By strategically arranging these pillars, the light can be controlled to produce steering and lensing. While conventional refractive lenses are close to a centimeter thick, meta-optics are about 500 microns thick, which dramatically reduces the overall thickness of the optics. However, one challenge with meta-optics is strong chromatic aberrations. That is, light of different wavelengths interacts with the structure in different ways, and the result is typically a lens that cannot simultaneously focus light of different wavelengths in the same focal plane. Largely because of this issue, meta-optics have not yet fully replaced their refractive counterparts despite the benefits in size and weight reduction. In particular, the area of LWIR meta-optics is relatively unexplored compared to visible wavelength meta-optics, and the potential advantages of meta-optics over conventional refractive lenses are significant given the unique and extensive applications of this wavelength range. [caption id="attachment_33941" align="alignleft" width="300"]Arka Majumdar headshot UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar. Photo by Ryan Hoover.[/caption] Now, in a new paper published in Nature Communications, a multi-institutional team of researchers, led by UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar, has introduced a new design framework termed “MTF-engineering.” The modulation transfer function, or MTF, describes how well a lens maintains image contrast as a function of spatial frequency. This framework addresses the challenges associated with broadband meta-optics to design and experimentally demonstrate thermal imaging with meta-optics in laboratory and real-world settings. The team built upon already successful inverse design techniques by developing a framework which optimizes both the pillar shape and the global arrangement simultaneously. UW ECE-affiliated team members included recent alumni Luocheng Huang (the paper’s lead author) and Zheyi Han, postdoctoral researchers Saswata Mukherjee, Johannes Fröch, and Quentin Tanguy as well as UW ECE Professor Karl Böhringer, who is the director of the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems at the UW.  

Leveraging artificial intelligence and a new inverse design framework

[caption id="attachment_33951" align="alignright" width="550"]A hand wearing a white glove holding a fabricated disk containing several small discs, which contain metaoptics. Below this photo are two grayscale photos of nanopillars. Meta-optics, in their simplest form, consist of arrays of sub-wavelength scale pillars on a flat surface, with each pillar introducing a local phase shift to light passing through. By strategically arranging these pillars, the light can be controlled to produce steering and lensing. (Above) A full view of a fabricated wafer containing meta-optics. (Below) Scanning electron microscope images of the nanopillars contained within the team’s meta-optics. These meta-optics contain both complex light scatterers (left) and simple scatterers (right). Photos provided by Anna Wirth-Singh.[/caption] One key innovation in the research team’s approach is the use of artificial intelligence — a deep neural network (DNN) model — to map between pillar shape and phase. In an inverse design process for large area optics, it is not computationally feasible to simulate how the light interacts with each pillar at each iteration. To solve this problem, the authors simulated a large library of nanopillars (also called “meta-atoms”) and used the simulated data to train a DNN. The DNN enabled a quick mapping between scatterer and phase in the optimization loop, allowing the inverse design of large-area optics containing millions of micron-scale pillars. Another key innovation in this work is the figure of merit (FoM), leading to the framework being termed “MTF-engineering.” In inverse design, one defines an FoM and computationally optimizes the structure or arrangement to maximize the FoM. However, it is often not intuitive why the produced result is optimal. For this work, the authors leveraged their expertise in meta-optics to define an FoM that is intuitive. Majumdar explained, “The figure of merit is related to the area under the MTF curve. The idea here is to pass as much information as possible through the lens, which is captured in the MTF. Then, combined with a light computational backend, we can achieve a high-quality image.” He continued, “The figure of merit reflects what we intuitively know about optics. This particular FoM is optimized when all the wavelengths perform equally well, thus constraining our optics to have uniform performance over the specified wavelengths without explicitly defining uniformity as an optimization criterion.” This approach, combining intuition from meta-optics and a light computational backend, significantly improves performance compared to simple metalenses. The authors fabricated their designed optics from a single silicon wafer, which is promising for future applications involving germanium-free LWIR imaging systems. While acknowledging that there is still room for improvement to achieve imaging quality comparable to commercial refractive lens systems, this work represents a significant step toward that goal. The researchers have generously made their MTF-engineering framework, named “metabox,” available online via GitHub, inviting others to use it for designing their own meta-optics. The research team expressed excitement about the potential works that may emerge from the utilization of metabox in the broader scientific community. This article is an adaptation of a blog post available at Springer Nature Research Communities. For more information about the research described above read, “Broadband thermal imaging using meta-optics” in Nature Communications or contact UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar. [post_title] => Ultra-flat optics for broadband thermal imaging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ultra-flat-optics [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-03-14 09:14:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-03-14 16:14:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=33933 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33767 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-02-29 09:22:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-02-29 17:22:53 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_33785" align="alignright" width="575"]Alvin Graylin in a business suit, sitting at a table UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways. He also is scheduled to be the honored guest speaker at this year’s UW ECE Graduation ceremony.[/caption] UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin (BSEE ‘93) is looking ahead. And what he sees coming in technology development over the next decade has given him reasons for both hope and concern, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence and extended reality, or XR, which encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality environments. “We’re in a tenuous time in this society, where AI and XR is growing so quickly that it will be very difficult for society to cope, from cultural, economic and geopolitical perspectives,” Graylin said. “The decisions that we make as a species in the next five to 10 years about how we handle this technology will impact the next thousand years in terms of how humanity will progress.” That last statement may sound hard to believe, but Graylin is an influential technology pioneer, executive, entrepreneur, and thought leader who got his start in the semiconductor industry and has well over 30 years’ experience creating, developing, and delivering products based on AI and XR. His career is international in scope, spanning the U.S., China, and Taiwan, and it includes leadership roles at companies in all three countries. Currently, Graylin is the Global VP of Development for HTC, a Taiwanese consumer electronics company that is a world leader in the development of virtual reality and augmented reality platforms. Part of his job at HTC entails serving as co-head of the ViveX VR Accelerator, which is the company’s global program for investing in startups at the intersection of virtual reality, augmented reality, AI and 5G technologies. He is also vice-chairman of the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance in China and president of the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance, which brings XR investment opportunities to its member corporations and venture capitalists.
“We’re in a tenuous time in this society, where AI and XR is growing so quickly that it will be very difficult for society to cope, from cultural, economic and geopolitical perspectives.” — UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin
Graylin’s entrepreneurial and leadership experience is extensive. He has founded four venture-backed startups in areas ranging from AI-based natural language search to big-data AI analytics across China and the U.S. As an investor, he has been involved in funding over 100 startups. He is a much sought-after speaker, who is frequently featured at leading international conferences and in the media on topics relating to AI, XR, entrepreneurship, and for his insights on the Chinese market. He also is scheduled to be the honored guest speaker at this year’s UW ECE Graduation ceremony. Now, Graylin is co-author of a new, visionary book that seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions about how the confluence of AI and XR technologies stands to reshape our world in profound ways.

Our Next Reality

[caption id="attachment_33789" align="alignright" width="350"]Our Next Reality book cover Graylin’s book, “Our Next Reality: How the AI-powered Metaverse will Reshape the World,” will be released through Amazon Kindle on March 5, Audible on March 6, and it will be available in print June 4 this year.[/caption] “Our Next Reality: How the AI-powered Metaverse will Reshape the World” explores 13 questions about AI and the metaverse (today’s internet built out as an XR environment), which Graylin debates with his co-author Louis Rosenberg, who was an early pioneer of virtual and augmented reality development and is a longtime AI researcher. It also includes a foreword by renowned author Neal Stephenson, who coined the term “metaverse” in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” and section contributions from respected industry thought leaders. The book already has received several favorable reviews from those in the vanguard of science and technology, such as Ray Kurzweil, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Dava Newman. Graylin said that he and Rosenberg wrote the book with three audiences in mind: government leaders and policy makers, those working in the AI and XR industries, and the next generation of scientists and engineers. “I’ve created and brought to market a number of technology products that have impacted hundreds of millions of people,” Graylin said. “Writing this book is a way of sharing some of my experience and knowledge, and hopefully, it might inspire a young person to do the right thing when it comes to AI and XR.” Graylin said that he and Rosenberg designed the book to help better inform those in government who are involved with incentivizing and regulating the AI and XR industries but who might not have a scientific or technical background. For those working in AI and XR, Graylin hopes the book convinces them to put in safeguards when designing products to protect end-users and the public. The book also emphasizes the importance of ethical technology development. Graylin said that in addition to motivating the next generation of scientists and engineers to consider the importance of ethics when it comes to AI and XR, he would like to inspire them to realize that they will be entering a world through the AI-powered metaverse that will be more amazing than anything people living today, or prior generations, have ever seen.
“I am optimistic, and I feel like we have the potential to get to a good long-term outcome when it comes to AI and XR development, but only if we have the determination to do the right thing and consciously work at it all along the way.” — UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin
In line with his forward-looking viewpoint, Graylin also chose to write the book for a fourth audience that hasn’t yet come into existence — an artificial general intelligence, or AGI, which is a sentient AI system that possesses intelligence equal to or greater than that of a human. “There is a small section of the book that is written for an AGI learning agent, so that if it scans this information, it can see what we are trying to do,” Graylin said. “This information, hopefully, will help the AGI see its position as our ‘descendant’ and motivate it to treat human beings as its ancestors, in a positive way.” Graylin and his co-author see the confluence of AI and the metaverse as a game-changer, capable of revolutionizing the education system, government, and almost every industry in existence. Both are concerned about the speed of AI development today. “If AI continues to progress at the rate we’re currently seeing, it will be able to replace most of the labor out there in about a decade, whether it’s cognitive or manual labor. It means that our relationship with our jobs and occupations will be drastically changed,” Graylin said. “In the past, when we’ve had other industrial revolutions, they’ve happened over decades. That was enough time to allow society to adapt and adjust. But this revolution will happen so quickly that it will be very difficult for societies to adjust and create new outlets for their people’s energy.” In the book, Graylin talks about the potential of the AI-powered metaverse to create purpose and opportunities for people around the world, especially for those who have less access to real-world opportunities. However, both he and Rosenberg are concerned that the current, hyper-competitive model between companies and nations for AI development is counterproductive, and in the long-term, dangerous. “Essentially, if one company or one country wins this race, we all lose, as a society and a world community,” Graylin said. “The key is that we cannot let this race start, because if it starts, somebody will win, and whoever the winner is will be too tempted to use the dominant AI technology they have developed in selfish ways.” As an antidote to this possible outcome, and to prepare for the coming convergence of AI and the metaverse, Graylin recommends more international cooperation in the design, development, and implementation of AI and XR as well as cooperative effort creating ethical and safety guidelines for these powerful technologies. He said that working to incorporate diverse representation of people and ideas into AI systems is also very important, as this will help expand system knowledge and perspective, reducing biases and potential for harm. “I’m actually not afraid of a super intelligent AGI system being developed because, by definition, that system will have enough knowledge and experience built-in to make wise, compassionate decisions,” Graylin said. “I’m afraid of the young and impetuous AI system that has been fed a limited, biased dataset but still has the power to have a real impact on human lives.” Graylin said that people need to be thoughtful about what data they are feeding to AI systems, and that scientists and engineers need to be careful about what tools they give AI systems access to — in a manner somewhat akin to raising children responsibly. “To be honest, I think we are creating our children, the next evolution of intelligence,” Graylin said. “I am optimistic, and I feel like we have the potential to get to a good long-term outcome when it comes to AI and XR development, but only if we have the determination to do the right thing and consciously work at it all along the way.”

Positive role models, UW connections

[caption id="attachment_33794" align="alignright" width="350"]UW Professor Emeritus Tom Furness is holding a virtual reality headset and standing next to Alvin Graylin in front of the HIT Lab Graylin with UW Professor Emeritus Tom Furness, who is holding a Vive Focus virtual reality headset. Furness is a pioneer in human interface technology and is well-known in the tech sector as the “Grandfather of Virtual Reality.”[/caption] To that end, Graylin is on the Science and Ethics Council at the Virtual World Society, which provides guidance for the responsible development and adoption of emerging technologies, working to ensure that they will benefit society as a whole. This organization was founded by Tom Furness, who is a Professor Emeritus in the industrial and systems engineering department at the UW and was a UW ECE adjunct professor during his tenure at the University. Furness is a pioneer in human interface technology and is well-known in the tech sector as the “Grandfather of Virtual Reality.” Graylin built his foundation in virtual reality research when he was an undergraduate student working with Furness in the Human Interface Technology Lab. He considers Furness to be a formative role model and today, a friend and colleague. “I’ve joined Tom’s organization to help him spread the message of how to utilize immersive technologies for creating a better society,” Graylin said. “I think that ties back into the questions and issues Louis and I have written about in our book.” Graylin noted that he has benefited over the years from positive, accomplished role models like Furness, both at the UW and within his own family. His father was a well-known artist in China and the U.S., and before he was born, his mother co-founded two leading ballet schools in the country — the Guangzhou and Shanghai School of Dance. The latter was for the premier ballet company in Beijing, China at the time. In the early 1980s, his parents fled oppression stemming from the Cultural Revolution in China and immigrated to the U.S. when he was a child. The family chose to settle in the Seattle area, and he and his brother, Will Graylin, followed parallel paths. Both showed an interest and aptitude for technology, both graduated from the UW, and later, MIT, and then went on to successful careers in the tech sector, becoming leaders in their respective fields. Most recently, the brothers spoke on a panel together at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show, commonly known as CES. According to Graylin, his father instilled within him and his brother a deep sense of purpose. “My dad’s theory was that everyone is here on earth to contribute in some way, to make society and the world better, and that we should find a way to maximize whatever that impact is,” Graylin said. “He told me that I needed to find whatever it was that I was good at, so I could make the biggest contribution I could, so that the world would be a better place after I am gone. That has been my driving purpose since I was a child.” As one might imagine, with an inner purpose like that, Graylin was and is a hard worker. He said he has always held at least a part-time job since he was 10 years old. As an undergraduate at the UW, he built and sold computers to help finance his education. He also chose to study electrical engineering over aeronautics and aerospace engineering because he believed EE was more practical and served a broader market. That way, he thought he would have more potential to do what his father asked him to do, which was to maximize his impact in the world. At UW ECE, Graylin focused on studying virtual reality as applied to education markets and parallel processing computer architecture design applied to neural network AI applications. He said that he especially enjoyed his computer architecture course, and it was part of what brought him to his first full-time job at Intel after he graduated. Over the course of his career, Graylin has returned to UW ECE several times to give talks to students. He also has been an active alumnus, regularly participating in alumni events, and when his career was based in China, he was a member of the UW alumni club in both Shanghai and Beijing. “UW ECE provided a demanding, but well-balanced and well-structured education. I never felt like I didn’t have a resource that another school might have, and I didn’t feel limited in any way,” Graylin said. “It’s also nice to see the progress the UW has made over the last three decades. It’s definitely becoming a lot more recognized as a global powerhouse of education. It makes me proud to say I’m a UW ECE graduate.”

Moving into the next reality

[caption id="attachment_33798" align="alignright" width="550"]Three men sit in chairs on a stage in front of a screen at the 2024 CES. The man in the center, Alvin Graylin, holds a virtual reality headset. Alvin Graylin (center) shares the stage with his brother Will Graylin (right). The brothers spoke on a panel at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show, commonly known as CES. Alvin Graylin is holding a Vive XR Elite headset. XR stands for “extended reality,” which encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality immersive technologies.[/caption] Now, after 18 years working in China, Graylin has moved back to Seattle. In addition to his day job at HTC, he is busy promoting the release of his new book, and he plans to spend more time with his two daughters — one who graduated from the UW last year and one who will graduate from the UW this year. Both of his daughters plan to stay in the Pacific Northwest. When asked what he would recommend for students interested in pursuing a career that blends AI with XR, Graylin said that there is no substitute for hands-on experience. “I think the key is that you have to go and do it,” Graylin said. “Go play with the tools, go play with the devices, go make something, versus just attending lectures and doing class projects.” He also advises students to make it a point to read as much as they can, both within and beyond the scope of their major, which he said can help students make connections between their focus area and the world around them. Graylin emphasized the value of entrepreneurial experience for those beginning their career, which he believes can provide knowledge outside the scope of a corporate job and can make any recent graduate a more well-rounded person. Overall, although he acknowledges the many challenges on the road ahead, Graylin remains optimistic and excited about the future for AI and XR and the opportunities these immersive technologies could provide for the next generation of scientists and engineers as well as the world at-large. “I believe that an AI-powered metaverse could allow us to get to a place where our basic needs will be satisfied as individuals and as a society, and it could enable us, over the next few hundred years, to solve mysteries of the universe that have perplexed us since the beginning of time,” Graylin said. “I think that could be a pretty amazing change in terms of purpose for people today. We can use the AI-powered metaverse to help people to think higher and encourage them to work toward fulfilling their destinies as intelligent beings.” Visit the Our Next Reality website for more information about Alvin Graylin’s new book. The website includes a link to “Our Next Reality AI,”  an OpenAI ChatGPT large language model that was customized by Graylin to be an expert at answering questions about the convergence of AI and immersive technologies.  [post_title] => UW ECE alumnus Alvin Graylin envisions our next reality [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => our-next-reality [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-02-29 09:22:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-02-29 17:22:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=33767 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33751 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2024-02-14 15:42:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-02-14 23:42:31 [post_content] => Read the latest issue of The Integrator, UW ECE's annual magazine, which covers faculty, student and alumni news, research and more! The magazine is online and print copies are now available at the ECE front office.  The Integrator 2023- 2024 magazine [post_title] => Print issues of The Integrator are now available! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-integrator-2023-2024-prints [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-02-15 10:39:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-02-15 18:39:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=33751 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34124 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2024-04-11 13:27:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2024-04-11 20:27:46 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_34126" align="alignright" width="575"]A black-and-white photo of a computer chip with the letters "AI" stamped on it, mounted to a motherboard UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96) has co-founded a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which is advocating for transparency and regulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence. / Photo by Igor Omilaev, courtesy of the Transparency Coalition.ai[/caption] Artificial intelligence holds great promise as well as possible peril for society. This rapidly evolving technology stands to accelerate advances in science, engineering, and healthcare as well as improve efficiency and productivity in a vast range of industries. But AI also has serious downsides, which include the potential to spread misinformation and disinformation online, exacerbate algorithmic biases, compromise individual privacy, and even obliterate copyright protections for intellectual property. It is the peril of AI that drew the attention of UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha (Ph.D. ‘96), who has worked as a technology entrepreneur for decades and has held leadership positions in major tech companies that leverage AI, such as Amazon and Microsoft. Now, along with his co-founder Rob Eleveld, Jaisimha has created a new nonprofit organization, the Transparency Coalition.ai, which seeks to address these concerns by advocating for greater transparency and regulation of the data used to train and inform AI and generative AI models, such as ChatGPT. “Rob and I were concerned about the rollout of generative AI and how it was going. We were already seeing evidence of societal harm. And we knew that we had the expertise needed to help address some of these issues,” Jaisimha said. “Because of my work in computer vision and imaging when I was at the UW, I spent years studying and understanding pattern recognition, how it worked, and the mathematics behind it. I built early versions of these AI models that are similar to the ones that are out there now.” [caption id="attachment_34130" align="alignleft" width="250"]Jai Jaisimha headshot UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha[/caption] The roots of Jaisimha’s knowledge about AI models and the data used to train them goes back to his time as a doctoral student working with his adviser, UW ECE Professor Emeritus Eve Riskin, who is now the dean of undergraduate education in the electrical and computer engineering department at the Stevens Institute of Technology. With oversight by Riskin, Jaisimha applied statistical pattern recognition techniques to better understand datasets and how to use them to make online browsing a more interactive and personalized experience. During this time, he also had an internship at a startup that did research for government agencies, which taught him the importance of data curation as well as algorithmic model construction, testing and validation. These experiences as a student carried over into his professional life, which has been defined by his entrepreneurial ventures and corporate leadership. “When you’re building a company, it’s not just about making a cool demo,” Jaisimha said. “It’s about making sure you have the entire pipeline of AI model building in place: data collection, data cleansing, being rigorous about validating and testing your results, and automating performance monitoring. That way, you end up building a robust system. Those are all things I learned at UW ECE.”

The Transparency Coalition.ai

According to Jaisimha, there is a large amount of research available about ethical and responsible AI development, and many companies have even formed entire departments focused on the ethical implementation of AI in their products. However, profit incentives have interfered with these good intentions. Teams focused on ethical AI in companies are often shrunk or even shut down. And thoughtful research in this area is too often ignored by industry leaders in favor of getting products to market faster and increasing profits. Jaisimha and his colleagues at the Transparency Coalition.ai believe that the government has an important role to play in regulating AI and providing needed oversight in a highly competitive marketplace. They have chosen to focus their efforts on advocating for greater transparency in AI training data, which Jaisimha believes is key to promoting more ethical and responsible AI development. Jaisimha said that focusing on AI training data is important because today’s generative AI models are ingesting large amounts of uncurated data. This includes copyrighted material and content behind paywalls, in social media and on personal websites, and even illicit and illegal content, such as child pornography. This indiscriminate ingestion of large amounts of uncurated data makes generative AI systems prone to frequent and well-documented “hallucinations,” where the system provides warped images or wrong and misleading answers when prompted.
"Because I’m an affiliate professor in UW ECE, I’ve been able to tap into the wider UW ecosystem, whether it’s the RAISE group, or computer science and engineering, or linguistics, or law. There’s a lot of good thinking happening across the university, and I’m looking for ways to bring it forward to legislators and to the public." — UW ECE alumnus and Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha
In contrast, a generative AI model with a transparent, curated dataset is less prone to hallucinations, greatly reduces the risk for societal harm, and is customized for solving specific problems. In many cases, the curation of training data also optimizes the AI model to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Because of these facts, Jaisimha believes that transparent, regulated, and curated AI training data will not only be good for society, in the long-term, it will be good for business too. “If you want to solve real-world problems, you have to embrace the idea of either taking these big, generative AI models and refining them for a specific application or building the model in a way that acknowledges that need for customization from the beginning,” Jaisimha said. “We know it’s possible to implement some degree of constraint on AI training data. And I believe the result will be a thriving ecosystem of companies building technologies that will be more practical, useful, and focused on solving real-world problems.” The Transparency Coalition.ai has set its sights on state-level advocacy, and it is reaching out to legislators in Washington and California. According to Jaisimha, state governments can often move to implement policy more rapidly than the federal government. Washington and California are also headquarters for a high number of leading technology companies working with artificial intelligence, which widens the impact of policies and legislation enacted in these states nationally and internationally. Since its founding in October 2023, the Transparency Coalition.ai has already scored a significant victory. A bill establishing a new AI Task Force for the state of Washington was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee last month. Among its other mandates, the Task Force will be considering appropriate regulation for AI training data, which is something the Transparency Coalition.ai advocated for among legislators involved in establishing the group. At the UW, Jaisimha is collaborating with Professor Chirag Shah in the UW Information School, who runs the Responsibility in AI Systems and Experiences, or RAISE, team at the University. RAISE conducts high-quality research on ethical and responsible AI development, and Jaisimha is connecting the organization with Washington state legislators through the Transparency Coalition.ai to help better inform AI policy and regulation.

UW connections

Jaisimha became a UW ECE affiliate professor in September 2023, and going forward, he plans to retain and continue to grow his connections at the UW. In addition to being affiliated with RAISE and advising student teams in the Department’s Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship capstone program, known as ENGINE, he is involved in CoMotion at the UW. There, he is a mentor for students and faculty and is actively involved in the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, which helps to move UW inventions and innovations into commercial investment and development. Jaisimha also has several family connections to the University. His wife received her master’s degree in business administration from the Foster School of Business, and their eldest son will be graduating this year from UW ECE with a bachelor’s degree. Their youngest son is a sophomore studying informatics at the UW iSchool. “We say in our family that we ‘bleed purple.’ The four of us are deeply connected to the UW, and I have a strong sense of needing to pay it forward,” Jaisimha said. “I see both my affiliate work at UW ECE and my mentorship work at CoMotion as a form of giving back. The Transparency Coalition.ai is also a form of giving back to the community.” Jaisimha encourages students pursuing careers in AI development to not worry too much about whether what they are studying now will remain relevant in this fast-changing world. Instead, he notes there is a specific way of breaking down problems that engineering students learn, which is a useful skill to apply in many situations. He also recommends that students interested in AI explore edge technology, such as TinyML, which brings machine learning networks into resource-constrained devices. And he suggests that students consider taking statistics classes, which can help an ECE graduate stand out in fields related to AI and machine learning. In regard to his work with the Transparency Coalition.ai, Jaisimha and his co-founder are continuing their outreach to state legislators and seeking donor support for their efforts. He encourages everyone who can to get involved and contact their state legislators to let them know about the need for AI transparency and oversight. To this end, the Transparency Coalition.ai recently installed a bill tracker on their website, which helps make it easy for people to see what bills related to AI are active in their state. Jaisimha also plans to continue to bring pertinent information about AI development to government officials going forward. “Because I’m an affiliate professor in UW ECE, I’ve been able to tap into the wider UW ecosystem, whether it’s the RAISE group, or computer science and engineering, or linguistics, or law. There’s a lot of good thinking happening across the university, and I’m looking for ways to bring it forward to legislators and to the public,” Jaisimha said. “I’ve never stopped educating myself. Now that I’m back at the UW, I’m continuing my education and benefiting from being at one of the greatest institutions in the world.” For more information about UW ECE Affiliate Professor Jai Jaisimha and his advocacy work, visit the Transparency Coalition.ai website. [post_title] => A call for AI data transparency [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ai-transparency [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-04-11 16:13:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-04-11 23:13:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=34124 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 880 [max_num_pages] => 147 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => 1 [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => c64914061c8ecf9b16abe746203f6ad7 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [allow_query_attachment_by_filename:protected] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) ) )
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