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Qiangfei Xia has been appointed to the Dev and Linda Gupta Professorship in the College of Engineering for a five-year term. The Gupta Professorship is designed to support faculty members within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) who are pursuing new areas of inquiry.

Dev Gupta earned his doctoral degree in 1977 from the ECE department and received the Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Massachusetts in 2010. Named a “Tech Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum, he has over thirty patents in communications, networking, circuit design, and signal processing. He is also the founder, chairman, and CEO of NewLANS, a broadband and wireless technologies company. He and his late wife Linda established the professorship in 2000.

Qiangfei Xia joined the ECE faculty in 2010. He leads the Nanodevices and Integrated Systems Lab, and he is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of emerging computing hardware, specifically memristor devices and their application in machine intelligence

A memristor is a component that controls the flow of electrical current in a circuit, while also “remembering” the prior state. Memristors differ from transistors—currently the main component of computer chips—which lose all information once the current is interrupted.

Xia was the first to integrate crossbar arrays of memristors with foundry-made CMOS chips, opening opportunities for AI hardware systems beyond that envisioned by Moore’s Law. Recently, his group designed a highly reliable multilevel memristor that meets nearly all the required properties for analog in-memory computing, built the world’s smallest memristive devices, integrated the largest analog memristive crossbar arrays at the time of publication, and demonstrated large-scale hardware acceleration of vector-matrix multiplications for machine learning. 

Furthermore, he has been transferring this technology into the commercial world by co-founding an AI accelerator startup in Silicon Valley. Finally, he debuted the first nanoscale memristive radiofrequency switch with superior performance and a few novel hardware security primitives that integrate memory, computing, and hardware security functionalities in one circuit.

Xia is an elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and he has been recognized as one of the world’s “Highly Cited Researchers” by Clarivate Analytics each of the past two years. In 2023, he received the College of Engineering Outstanding Senior Faculty Award.

Prior to joining UMass in 2010, Xia worked as a research associate in the Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University in 2007.

(June 2024)

Article posted in Faculty