15 December, 2023
2023 Misha Mahowald Prizes
The juries have awarded a lifetime contribution award to Carver Mead and have awarded the Misha Mahowald prize to a team from Sandia National Labs.
7 December, 2023
Misha Mahowald Recognition of Lifetime Contribution to Neuromorphic Engineering
This special award is conferred on Prof. Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology.
Jury citation: "Carver Mead established the field of Neuromorphic Electronic Engineering. His creativity and vision has inspired a generation of scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs to emulate brain-like information processing in electronic systems."
Extended citation: Mead evolved a deep and intuitive understanding of the physics of transistors, and laid the foundations for systematically organizing them into large scale digital computing systems embedded in silicon chips. He extended his insights to questions of biological computation: firstly by understanding the biophysics of voltage-sensitive nerve channels, and then by identifying more general analogies between the physics of transistors and that of neurons. His goal was to understand the natural computation processes of brains and to apply this knowledge practically in the development of more efficient means of electronic computing. Working with Misha Mahowald, he developed the first large-scale integrated silicon retina chips that use the organizational and functional principles of biological neural information processing. In so doing, Carver established the fundamental concepts and practices of a novel approach to brain-like computation, now known as Neuromorphic Electronic Engineering. During the decade spanning roughly 1985-1995, he and his students at Caltech’s Physics of Computation Lab pioneered the first integrated silicon retinas, silicon cochleas, silicon neurons and synapses, non-volatile floating gate synaptic memories, central pattern generators, and the first systems that communicated information between chips via asynchronous action potential-like address-event spikes. His 1989 book “Analog VLSI and Neural Systems“ and his CNS182 course taught these concepts and methods to a new generation of researchers. He co-founded companies to bring these and other research concepts to mass production. The generation of students he inspired now lead neuromorphic research and education in academia, government, and industry throughout the world.
Misha Mahowald Prize
Random walk example applications demonstrating (a) heat diffusion across a torus and (b) modeled spread of an invasive species from a single origination point. Adapted from award submission.
Mahowald Early Career Award
The MECA jury was unable to select a suitable winner for the Award in 2023.