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Picture of Dr. Catherine Schuman

ORNL researcher, UT EECS alumna receives DOE early career funding award

Seven Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers representing a range of scientific disciplines have received Department of Energy’s Office of Science Early Career Research Program awards.

The Early Career Research Program, now in its tenth year, supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.

“Supporting our nation’s most talented and creative researchers in their early career years is crucial to building America’s scientific workforce and sustaining America’s culture of innovation,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  “We congratulate these young researchers on their significant accomplishments to date and look forward to their achievements in the years ahead.”

Catherine Schuman, who works in ORNL’s Computer Science and Mathematics Division, received funding for her proposal, “Learning to Learn: Designing Novel Neuromorphic Algorithms with Machine Learning,” from the Office of Science Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

The project will use machine learning and high-performance computing to automatically create new algorithms that will enable real-time continuous learning for neuromorphic systems, which are novel, energy efficient computing systems inspired by biological neural networks. The work aims to provide a path forward for using neuromorphic computers for real-time adaptive machine learning-based analysis of scientific data.

Catherine Schuman is a Research Scientist in Computational Data Analytics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  She received her doctorate in computer science from the University of Tennessee in 2015, where she completed her dissertation on the use of evolutionary algorithms to train spiking neural networks for neuromorphic systems.  She is continuing her study of models and algorithms for neuromorphic computing, as well as other topics in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as part of her work at ORNL.  Catherine is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, where she, along with four other professors at UT, leads a neuromorphic research team made up of more than 25 faculty members, graduate student researchers, and undergraduate student researchers.

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