InaRIS Fellow (2022-2031)

Shunsuke Fukami

Professor,Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University*Profile is at the time of the award.

2022InaRISScience & Engineering

Research topics
Induction of "intelligence" in materials by artificial control and its development to computing
Using current artificial intelligence based on sequential and deterministic algorithms to address complex problems such as recognition and decision making requires a huge amount of computation and power. If one develops computers that can execute such problems more efficiently, it will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is known that some of the algorithms that have led to the current artificial intelligence were inspired by the inherent properties of materials and substances, such as analog, probabilistic, and bidirectional properties. This research aims to develop a new computer that can execute such original algorithms of artificial intelligence naturally by utilizing these inherent properties of materials and substances. Based on the insight obtained from spintronics research to date, the unexplored functionalities of materials that could be applied to new computer have already been examined, and the first steps toward development have already been taken.


Computing technology, which serves as the backbone of the modern information society, is based on the concept proposed by Alan Turing in 1936 and the architecture proposed by John von Neumann and others around 1945, and has improved exponentially in performance over the past half century, along with the development of semiconductor integrated circuit technology. Recently, the development of software technology, collectively known as artificial intelligence (AI), has enabled advanced processing such as recognition and prediction, and hardware specialized for these tasks has also been developed. However, the current methods that depend on existing integrated circuit technology are about to reach their limits, and it is needed to develop innovative computing technologies that are fundamentally different from conventional algorithms and architectures.

In the development of AI, John Hopfield's suggestion in the 1980s about the analogy between the brain's memory mechanism and spin glasses, and a proposal by Jeffrey Hinton et al. for learning using the Boltzmann distribution, a fundamental law of statistical mechanics, have played important roles. However, these computational algorithms require so enormous amount of computation in the execution by current computers based on sequential and deterministic operations that their direct use is impractical, leading to limited implementations in the current AI such as the restricted Boltzmann machines.

Dr. Fukami's research proposal is based on an ambitious idea to bring out the "intelligence" inherent to materials by controlling them with artificial structures, and to realize the original idea of Hopfield and Hinton by constructing physical systems that obey complex physical laws. Dr. Fukami has achieved important research results that are foundational of this proposal. For example, he has explored device technologies that advance current computing, such as high-performance materials and devices for non-volatile magnetic memory (MRAM), and has also demonstrated proof-of-concept of brain-like computing and probabilistic computing using devices based on spintronics technology. This proposal aims to further explore the "intelligence" in materials, and to extend the application of such "intelligence" to algorithms and architectures.

Dr. Fukami is one of the world's leading researchers in the development of novel computing based on spintronics technology, and with the support of the InaRIS Fellowship, over the next 10 years, he is expected to pioneer new "intelligence" in materials and bring about innovations in computing technology based on this intelligence, thereby realizing the integration of materials research with a wide range of academic fields such as information science, and contributing to the creation of a new paradigm in materials research.

Message from Fellow

I am very happy to tackle this uncertain project, which I cannot apply for any other programs. I am very excited and at the same time terrified because I am not sure I can conclude the project within 10 years, but I will do my best. As this research has many interdisciplinary aspects, I look forward to fostering this project while meeting with many experts from various fields through this fellowship program.

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