Innovation funds propel research to improve health and computing

Written by
Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications
April 1, 2020

From new approaches to quantum device engineering to the development of machine learning systems that asses uncertainty in medical imaging, electrical engineering researchers landed two of the 11 projects awarded Innovation Research Grants by the School of Engineering and Applied Science this year.

Project X Fund

Project X funding enables Princeton engineering faculty members to pursue exploratory research geared toward “creativity, tinkering and risk-taking.” The fund is made possible by G. Lynn Shostack in honor of her late husband David Gardner, a 1969 Princeton graduate.

Stephen Lyon, professor of electrical engineering, seeks to advance quantum computing by developing a new nanoscale device for rapidly measuring the spin of an individual electron. Spin is a property of electrons that can be used for information processing in quantum computers, which hold potential for performing complex computations that are not tractable with conventional computers. Lyon’s proposed device uses superfluid helium, in which quantum bits are better protected from the environment than in silicon devices currently in development.

Yang Family Fund and the David T. Wilkinson Innovation Fund


Yang and Wilkinson funds were awarded for three projects by faculty members in electrical engineering and computer science.


One of the grants will allow Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Yuxin Chen to develop a new suite of statistical reasoning tools to assess uncertainty in results of complex machine learning algorithms, such as those used in recommendation systems, sensor networks or MRI image reconstruction. The new tool will give researchers more informative and reliable interpretations of estimates based on noisy or incomplete data.

See the full list of 2020 Innovation Funds.