Visual Cortex on Silicon visits Capitol Hill


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Vijay Narayanan, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his research group were invited to demonstrate their project, Visual Cortex on Silicon, at the 22nd annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Capitol Hill Exhibition.

The CNSF is an alliance of over 140 professional organizations, universities and businesses that work together to address concerns about the stamina of national science, mathematics and engineering enterprises. The hope is to increase the national investment in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) research and education programs.

Narayanan, who leads the project; Nandhini Chandramoorthy and Peter Zientara, Ph.D. students at Penn State; Gus Smith and Ikenna Okafor, undergraduate students; Kevin Irick, a former research associate; and Laurent Itti from the University of Southern California, were also part of the demo team, whose attendance at the CNSF was sponsored by the Computing Research Association.

“The NSF funds projects that have a broad impact on society,” said Narayanan. “This exhibit gives us the opportunity to showcase our achievements to the policymakers that can then take our research back to the general public and help promote the work we do, which is for the community.”

The “Visual Shopping Assistance for a Person with Visual Impairment,” which includes a smart glove with tactile feedback and a visual assistance eye-piece, drew quite a crowd. Congressional staffers, lobbyists, the NSF director, associate directors of NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering and other directorates lined up to see Narayanan’s exhibit.

“As a professor it’s a privilege for me to attend the CNSF, so for my students, it was really cool for them to see people line up to see the work they’ve done,” said Narayanan. “This was a really unique opportunity for them.”

Narayanan and his group received a $10million NSF Expeditions in Computing award in 2013 for Visual Cortex on Silicon. The five-year award helps to fund this immense technical challenge, which spans multiple disciplines and has a wide societal impact.


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Rebekka Coakley

Penn State students show congressional staffers their research

Penn State students show congressional staffers their research
Penn State students show congressional staffers their research.



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

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