Air Force awards grants to two Cornell faculty members

Chris Batten
Rob Shepherd

Cornell faculty members Christopher Batten and Robert Shepherd recently received Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program grants.

This year, the AFOSR awarded $16.6 million to 58 scientists and engineers from 43 institutions and small businesses who received their Ph.D. in the last five years, and who show “exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.”

Batten, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, won for his proposal titled “Exploiting Amorphous Data Parallelism Through Software and Architecture Co-Design.”

Batten's research is in energy-efficient parallel computer architecture for high-performance and embedded applications. Emerging application workloads are often complex and exhibit amorphous data parallelism with irregular control flow, and unstructured data access. Significant breakthroughs to address these challenges will not happen by exploring either software or hardware in isolation, Batten says.

His AFOSR project is aimed at rethinking software and hardware for heterogeneous systems, with specific attention to efficiently supporting amorphous data parallelism.

Shepherd, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, won for his proposal titled “Co-Continuous Metal-Elastomer Foam Actuators for Morphing Wing MAVs.”

Shepherd's work is focused on the material and mechanical design of soft machines using advanced fabrication techniques such as 3-D printing.

Shepherd's AFOSR proposal will use liquid metal-imbibed actuators to cause large changes in wing shape, and to control their stiffness.

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