As a member of Professor Marin Soljacic’s lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Shen spearheaded the scientific exploration combining nanophotonics and artificial intelligence. “I realized that light could replace electrons to improve the type of computations needed for common artificial intelligence algorithms,” Dr. Shen said of his inspiration. His research came to fruition in 2017, when Dr. Shen published his milestone work, titled “Deep Learning with Coherent Nanophotonic Circuits” in Nature Photonics. In 2018, Dr. Shen launched Lightelligence, which delivered the world’s first integrated optical computer just one year later in 2019. The optoelectronic systems that Lightelligence is designing support faster machine learning workloads while consuming less power. Lightelligence is currently collaborating with pilot customers to deploy its optical AI accelerations in 2022.
Tim Maher, Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review, said: “We get more than 500 nominations for the list every year, and getting that list down to 35—a task not only for the editors at MIT Technology Review but also for our 30+ judges—is one of the hardest things we do each year. We love the way the final list always shows what a wide variety of people there are, all around the world, working on creative solutions to some of humanity’s hardest problems.”
Learn more about this year’s Innovators Under 35 on the MIT Technology Review website here and in its July/August issue, which goes live online on June 30. The honorees are also featured at the upcoming EmTech MIT conference, MIT Technology Review’s annual flagship event that offers carefully curated perspective on the most significant developments of the year, with a focus on their potential business and societal impact. EmTech MIT will be held online September 28-30, 2021.
Lightelligence is an optical computing company that develops hardware and software systems to create next-generation computing solutions. Lightelligence is the world’s first and only company that has demonstrated a functioning optical AI computer.
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