Prize 2017

Group of Prof. Davide Scaramuzza at University of Zurich wins 2017 Misha Mahowald Prize for Neuromorphic Engineering

The Misha Mahowald Prize recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of neuromorphic engineering. Neuromorphic engineering is defined as the construction of artificial computing systems which implement key computational principles found in natural nervous systems. Understanding how to build such systems may enable a new generation of intelligent devices, able to interact in real-time in uncertain real-world conditions under severe power constraints, as biological brains do.

Misha Mahowald, for whom the prize is named, was a charismatic, talented and influential pioneer of neuromorphic engineering whose creative life unfortunately ended prematurely. Nevertheless, her novel designs of brain-inspired CMOS VLSI circuits for vision and computation have continued to influence a generation of engineers.

For the 2017 prize, the independent jury led by Prof. Terrence Sejnowski of the Salk Institute convened again to evaluate entries from universities and companies worldwide. They have selected the work of the Robotics and Perception Group of Prof. Davide Scaramuzza, with Guillermo Gallego, Elias Mueggler, Henri Rebecq, and Timo Hortschaefer, at the University of Zurich as the winner for 2017:

“For for their pathbreaking applications of neuromorphic engineering to robot navigation.”

The work of Davide Scaramuzza and his team uses event-based vision sensors combined with novel algorithms to enable dramatic improvements in the speed and power efficiency of artificial visual systems in challenging real-world situations. These advances may find future applications in systems including autonomous vehicles, drones and consumer electronics.

(pictured) Henri Rebecq, Elias Mueggler,
Timo Hortschaaffer, Davide Scaramuzza (photo: T. Delbruck)