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Women's History Month: Meet the Women Innovating New Technologies at Intel Labs

Anuradha_Srinivasan
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Published March 18th, 2021

Anuradha Srinivasan is an industry expert at Intel Labs, sharing insights into innovative research for inventing tomorrow’s technology.

Highlights:

  • As a part of Women's History Month, we are highlighting innovative research by five women in engineering at Intel Labs.
  • From AI programs for education, to neuromorphic computing for robotics, to confidential computing at the edge, women are researching new technologies every day.

Women researchers at Intel Labs are working on new technology every day. In honor of Women's History Month, we would like to highlight their innovative work. Through their contribution of novel ideas, problem-solving skills, and collaborative team efforts, Intel Labs continues to build tomorrow's technology today.

These women are researching new systems for the expanded use of artificial intelligence (AI) in education, wireless sensing for contactless interaction with devices, neuromorphic computing for robotics, named data networking (NDN) at the edge, and confidential computing from cloud to edge — just to name a few of the projects.

As the chair of the newly established Women @ Intel Labs (WIL) program at Intel Labs and a member of the Diversity and Equity Council, our long-term goal is to provide support, mentorship, networking, career growth, and development opportunities for women in technology. In 2020 in the U.S., 23.5% of technical positions at Intel were held by women. As part of Intel’s 2030 RISE Goals, the company aims to exceed 40% representation of women in technical positions and double the number of women and underrepresented minorities in senior leadership roles.

I have experienced first-hand how important it is to have access to the best and most diverse research talent at Intel Labs. As the senior director of the Silicon and Systems Prototyping Lab, my team is responsible for building hardware and system prototypes as proof points of a technology that can be transferred to a product. At Intel Labs, we take risks because failure to bring some idea to fruition is seen as a success — it’s a learning that provides direction to what will work and what does not at very early stages. This enables us to be bold, and it is an enriching experience.

Let’s meet a small sample of the bold and talented women at Intel labs — these five women are researching new technology at Intel Labs.

Lenitra Durham

Software engineer, Human and AI Systems Research

1. What inspired you to work at Intel Labs?

My work at Intel Labs began with a summer internship in 1997. I worked on developing a real-time transport (RTP) monitor using the popular technologies for Windows UI and networking development at that time, including Visual C++, COM (Component Object Model) and Winsock2. This was early in my Ph.D. program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I was interested in computer networking as a research area, so it was exciting to be developing these technologies. I even created a test plan and wrote test scripts using Rational Visual Test, paving the path to my interest in end-to-end systems, from design to implementation and testing. I love learning new things and I liked working on something that would continue to be used after my internship was done.

2. What are you working on?

I am working on a personalized learning through AI in education project called Kid Space. Kid Space uses extensive multimodal sensing and sense-making technologies (for example, face recognition, pose and gesture detection, location tracking, ambient audio detection, voice recognition, and natural-language processing) to create immersive computing experiences designed to engage children more actively in physical activity and social collaboration during play-based learning. As a technical lead on the project, I focus on bringing these various state-of-the-art technologies together, working seamlessly in real-world environments to provide a compelling user experience. Early last year, just before the COVID-19 school closings, we deployed our prototype in an Oregon school and performed a user study with a group of first-grade students.

3. What excites you most about the future of technology?

What excites me the most about the future of technology are the possibilities. Things have changed so much over my years at Intel. Technology is constantly evolving and improving. We are truly creating technology that can enhance people’s lives.

Jingyi Ma

Senior research scientist, Intel Labs China

1. What inspired you to work at Intel Labs?

Working at Intel Labs motivates my curiosity. There are always new challenges that I can work on, which is really fun. Also, I work with great people, and I always keep growing and learning more.

2. What are you working on?

I am currently working on radar sensing and perception, and developing signal processing and key algorithms for social and client usages. It is a wireless sensing technology, which enables people to have contactless interaction with different devices or the environment. Our technology can help with some of the challenges we face in the new normal from the pandemic. Some sample usages are touchless gesture interaction, contactless human health monitoring, and human presence sensing.

3. What excites you most about the future of technology?

There are so many possibilities that technology will continue to transform the world and improve human lives. It is really exciting to see how technology continues to make wonderful things happen.

Yulia Sandamirskaya

Research scientist, Applications Research Group in the Neuromorphic Computing Lab

1. What inspired you to work at Intel Labs?

The Neuromorphic Computing Lab at Intel Labs developed one of the most advanced neuromorphic computing chips on the planet, which is close to my vision for a disruptive technology for “smart systems,” such as AI, robotics, sensing, and human-machine interaction devices. Intel has the resources (people, know-how, and technology) to introduce this new type of computing in the mainstream. I am thrilled to be part of this journey, learning so much about today’s technology along the way.

2. What are you working on?

Today, neuronal networks are recognized as the best tool for many AI applications. However, when AI needs to process sensor readings and act upon them in the real physical world, the technology in the domain of “embodied cognition” falls far behind what even simple biological systems achieve in terms of flexibility, adaptivity, safety, and energy footprint. I work on proof of concepts (PoCs) to demonstrate the potential of neuromorphic computing to solve hard problems in robotics efficiently. Neuromorphic hardware is the closest proxy to a biological brain that we have implemented on a chip today. It allows us to bring many insights from biology in action. Many robotic problems – localization and mapping, object learning, planning, and adaptive control – can be solved by orders of magnitude more efficiently in neuromorphic hardware than using any other computing device. Efficiency, speed, and autonomy of processing are key to making robots safe and agile enough to deploy them alongside humans in real world environments: for disaster recovery, in hard to reach and dangerous environments, in space, or during a pandemic. I think our work pushes the frontiers of what is possible today, preparing the next AI spring.

3. What excites you most about the future of technology?

That it can free people's lives from hardships and fill them with meaning and joy: reducing hard labor while providing for a sustainable future, improving medical support, education, work conditions, and quality of life for every person on the planet.

Srikathyayani Srikanteswara

Research scientist, Wireless Systems Research Lab

1. What inspired you to work at Intel Labs?

Science and research interested me since I was 10 years old. I wanted to understand how everything worked and I wanted to discover or invent something. As I grew up, my interests turned from pure sciences to practical applications like engineering, and working at Intel labs was the logical conclusion. There is a wide breadth of topics to work on, and I have grown immensely beyond my formal education in wireless communications. More than anything, the people are friendly and great to work with, which inspires me to do more. The supportive environment definitely helps the creative juices flow!

2. What are you working on?

In addition to compute moving toward the edge, the edge will continue to grow more intelligent and autonomous. The edge is rich with resources such as compute hardware, software containers/applications, storage, sensors, and data. However, unlike resources in a data center or a typical cloud, some of the resources at the edge are shared across multiple workloads, can be owned by multiple entities, and can act independently. There is a need for dynamic orchestration to harness the resources already at the edge, to supplement resources in the cloud and edge infrastructure, and create services/applications on demand.

Our research team is developing solutions using data centric networking that uses a name-based approach like named data networking (NDN) by naming data instead of IP addresses. NDN offers a fundamentally distributed architecture that is not dependent on a centralized infrastructure for orchestrating services on edge nodes. Such an approach can radically reduce latency as opposed to centrally managed infrastructure, with much greater scalability in cases when the number of devices at the edge becomes the bottleneck for existing orchestration methods. With in-network caching, seamless bridging between multiple wireless and wired networks, and built-in security, it provides a robust solution.

The end result is the ability to do more at the edge with very low latency like discovering data sensors and creating learning networks on the fly. Data that was originally discarded or buried in the cloud will be analyzed and put to use instantly. Accident scenes can be analyzed instantly, it will simplify data movements in smart factories, and smart cities will have a way to seamlessly exchange and analyze data in a secure manner across multiple domains.

3. What excites you most about the future of technology?

We are at a very exciting phase where ideas that were mere concepts are now becoming reality from autonomous vehicles to smart cities and more. Our networks can support very high data rates and compute resources are getting more powerful – the combination of the two creates endless possibilities. Technology also has a chance to reach many more people around the globe and help them lead a better life with telemedicine, remote learning, and more.

Mona Vij

Principal engineer, Security and Privacy Research

1. What inspired you to work at Intel Labs?

I joined Intel/Intel Labs in 1997. At that time I wanted to work on something new and exciting, and an opportunity to work on a security team at Intel came about. I really like working on new problems and having the freedom to explore new research areas. I've had many opportunities to work with the world's top minds through projects with our academic partners.

2. What are you working on?

My area of research is scalable confidential computing from cloud to edge. Today, encryption is used as a solution to protect data while it’s being sent across the network and also while it is stored, but data can still be vulnerable when it is being processed or used. Confidential computing is a new form of computing that allows securing data “in use” by performing computations in a hardware-based trusted execution environment. My research’s main goal is to scale confidential computing for a variety of usages from edge to cloud. Some of the game changing usages that confidential computing enables are in healthcare and finance, where we can use large sets of private user data for collaborative analytics and machine learning.

Today all around the world we have COVID-19 patients that are being hospitalized and treated. There is a strong need to mine patient data such as x-rays for better hospitalization prediction, drug manufacturing, and more. Hospitals could build better and more accurate models if they had access to a large body of data. One problem is that a lot of sensitive data is sitting in various silos due to privacy concerns. Many hospitals and institutions have a strong desire to collaborate, but they can’t share the data due to privacy and regulatory concerns. Confidential computing enables protection of sensitive user data brought together from mutually distrusting parties. Today, we're helping hospitals build solutions using Graphene, a software library operating system that protects applications with confidential computing.

3. What excites you most about the future of technology?

While there are so many things, what I find most exciting is the potential to change our lives. It’s also a bit scary, as it can be a double-edged sword. Technology advancements are powerful, but if they fall in the wrong hands, they can also destroy lives. Working in the security and privacy space, we get to think about those problems and help find solutions. I also can’t wait to see the future with fully self-driving electric cars everywhere, resulting in safer roads. Connected electric vehicles are an amazing piece of technology and they keep getting better every year.

 

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About the Author
Anuradha Srinivasan is a Senior Director in IP, Design, and Platform Lab and leads the Silicon and Systems Prototyping Lab. She joined Intel in 2002 and has been with Intel Labs since 2011. She is skilled in Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), Integrated Circuits (IC), Mixed Signal, System on a Chip (SoC), and Embedded Systems. She has led large cross geo teams in both product development and research and is a recognized leader in building strong cross functional teams. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering from B. M. S. College of Engineering, and her research interests are in the area of Robotics and Heterogenous systems and AI for design.