University appoints new Regius Chair of Engineering

Professor Themis Prodromakis
Professor Themis Prodromakis

The University of Edinburgh has appointed Professor Themis Prodromakis to the Regius Chair of Engineering.

Professor Prodromakis will be the 10th holder of the Chair and will establish the Centre for Electronics Frontiers in the School of Engineering at Edinburgh when he takes up his appointment in May 2022.

The Regius Chair at Edinburgh is the oldest such chair of Engineering in the UK, having been established by Queen Victoria in 1868.

Professor Prodromakis is currently Professor of Nanotechnology at the University of Southampton. He is internationally recognised as a pioneer of emerging - so called "beyond-CMOS" - electronic memory technologies, known as memristors, and his contributions have been instrumental in enabling a critical transition in electronics.

He holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the British Computer Society, the IET and the Institute of Physics.

Welcoming the appointment, Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal of the University of Edinburgh said that “I am delighted that we have been able to attract Professor Themis Prodromakis as our new Regius Chair of Engineering, and that some of his group from Southampton will be coming with him.

"The appointment recognises the outstanding contributions that he has already made to Engineering and the very great potential for even more examples in the future. Regius Chairs are rare and special, epitomising leadership and ambassadorship at the University and way beyond. We are delighted to add Themis to the existing excellence of engineering research and teaching at Edinburgh.”

Professor Prodromakis said, "It is a tremendous honour to be appointed as the 10th Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is renowned for its visionary engineers, whose discoveries and inventions have transformed our world. I am delighted that my group and I are joining this vibrant environment at a time where Artificial Intelligence and new electronic technologies are destined to improve everyone's lives.”

Head of the School of Engineering, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh welcomed the appointment: “The new Regius Chair appointment greatly strengthens the Scottish Microelectronics Centre and represents an enormous opportunity for the University. Themis Prodromakis will help us realise our ambition to push the frontiers of electronics through emerging nanotechnologies, disrupting current ways of thinking by innovating advanced energy-efficient hardware solutions for artificial intelligence (AI)”.

Professor Themis Prodromakis' research

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming our society. However, a key bottleneck towards its widespread use is the lack of efficient hardware.

Professor Prodromakis has made remarkable contributions in devising new hardware that supports the increasing computational demands of the AI era. His technology is built upon an electronic component known as a “memristor”, or memory-resistor, which has the ability to 'remember' the amount of charge that has passed through it, thereby simultaneously storing multiple units of data in a single component.

Prodromakis has developed some of the first memristor technologies that are promising for real applications. He first used nanoscale materials to fabricate stable, reliable, and low-energy consumption memristors. He then used those memristors to build novel artificial neural networks—computer circuits emulating the structure of the human brain—that support state-of-the-art machine learning and big-data processing.

He further introduced a new circuit design paradigm by embedding memristors within conventional computer circuits, significantly boosting their performance while maintaining a low energy consumption. He has also invented memristor bio-sensors that monitor large-scale neural signals in real time and chips that can communicate with brain neurons over the internet.

Several technologies and testing tools he developed have been successfully commercialized and utilized by global businesses and standards organizations. Taken together, he has pushed memristor technologies to become a viable solution to the challenges we face today in the information and biomedical industries.

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