A common theme emerges from Dr. Shankar’s patents and other innovation efforts: Gaining deeper insight in a given domain from near exponential behaviors and using this insight to solve critical problems in that domain. This may have been accentuated because of his interest and background in systems innovations.
Here is a list of various domains with such near exponential characteristics and his efforts relative to them:
1. Universities – Physical (as opposed to Virtual) universities have had researchers and teachers in various disciplines work in close physical proximity to each other for a long time, but typically have worked within their department silos. The ones who ventured out have seen their efforts pay off since many of today research and teaching challenges have multiple dimensions and need multidisciplinary efforts to address them. Our latest CUSP vision brings together faculty members and students from various departments and colleges in an attempt to truly take advantage of a wonderful infrastructure that may be getting underutilized. The insight gained from our OPP project (see below) has helped us do early field testing of our CUSP vision. For Academic aspects, see the Courses page. On the research side, we have submitted two collaborative NSF proposals (one not funded) and co-authored 7+ conference papers, with several journal papers in the pipeline. At least 3 student led small businesses have been established and are operational. Twenty six marketable Apps have been developed and some will be released soon. One student-led patent may be filed soon.
2. Productivity – Bennett and Wennberg (2005), in an article on embedded software defects published in Cross Talk, an on-line journal of defense software engineering, argues for minimizing errors in the earlier stages of system development. They quote from NIST and NASA to show that economic impact is exponentially increased the later one waits to fix errors introduced in the earlier stages of requirements and design. We came to a similar conclusion during our six year (2003-2008) collaboration with Motorola’s cell phone division. Motorola funded us at $1.1 M to develop a flow for radically increasing design productivity. This was entitled: One Pass to Productivity (OPP) . Our results are documented at the CSI website. Motorola’s vision was to develop a flow to reduce new product development cycle to one day from the then two year flow. Our flow was able to reduce the development cycle from 24 months to 3 months, as verified by Motorola. The one day turn around time, however, has now become a reality with the introduction of the Android platform, which integrates effectively many related innovations. We took advantage of their innovations to enhance productivity in a different domain: the university environment (see above). Issues related to software and system design productivity are the focus of current research interests in the computer domain for Dr Shankar
3. VLSI and EDA: VLSI has witnessed remarkable growth because of Moore’s law. Note that the plot at this Wikipedia site uses a logarithmic scale for the vertical axis. Motorola and NSF funded the establishment of our center in 1993 (then entitled as Center for VLSI and Systems Integration) that focused on these domains. Over the years we developed libraries, algorithms, designs, and tools that addressed such issues: sub-threshold analog circuit design, neural nets for handwritten character recognition, and distributed algorithm for character skeletonization. The goal here was to exploit/explore near exponential behaviors for optimization in these domains. Dr. Shankar co-authored a book on VLSI and Computer Architecture with Dr. Ed Fernandez. Dr. Shankar also worked for Cadence (during 2001-2003), the leading EDA software tool company. He supported the Motorola divisions in S. Florida as they were major hubs of IC and system design at that time. The insight gained led to the eventual funding by Motorola for the OPP project (see above).
4. Low Power Multiplier: Anolog multiplier of the past used the QSM (Quarter Square Multiplier) principle in building multipliers. We exploited the inherent square law there to develop a scaleable digital multiplier that has yielded significant QOS metric improvements. Here is the link to the licensing page at FAU: Power Optimized Multimedia Applications on Smart Phones . Two patents have been issued (See below).
5. Early and Noninvasive Detection of Atherosclerosis: This is based on the highly nonlinear variation in arterial wall mechanics as a function of transmural pressure. Dr. Shankar used this to find a sensitive measure called peak arterial compliance (near zero transmural pressure) that correlates well with cardiovascular risk factors (from human studies) and with the extent of pathology (from animal studies). Since then a group of medical researchers and clinicians have conducted a 5-center clinical study that has proven efficacy of the method. The results were published in the Circulation journal in 2004. Here is the link: Relationship between arterial stiffness and subclinical aortic atherosclerosis. Three US patents and several International patents have been issued to Dr. Shankar (see below). These patents were licensed to a biomedical company (Vasocor Inc). FAU has received $1M in royalties.
Patents (7 in the US) and Patent Applications (1 in the US)
- Shankar, R., Pulsatile measurement of cardiac malfunction conditions, US Patent No. 8,197,416, issued June 12, 2012.
- Shankar, R., Noninvasive glucose measurement, US Patent No. 8,185,182, issued May 22, 2012.
- Shankar, R., A Dynamically Reconfigurable Power-Aware, Highly Scalable Multiplier with Reusable and Logically Optimized Structures, US Patent No. 7,873,823, issued on 1/18/11
- Shankar, R., High Speed Scalable Multiplier, US Patent No 7080114, Granted April 2006, Publication No. 20030105792, January 2005.
- Shankar, R., Method of concurrent visualization of module outputs of a flow process, US Patent Application No. 20050010598. Published January 2005.
- Shankar, R., Method and Apparatus for Detecting the onset and relative degree of atherosclerosis in humans, International Patents, PCT claims (15), 1995. Expired due to non-payment of maintenance fees.
- Shankar, R., Apparatus for Detecting the onset and relative degree of atherosclerosis in humans, 19 claims, USA Patent No. 5,343,867, Granted September 6, 1994.
- Shankar, R., Method for Detecting Atherosclerosis while excluding motion artifacts, 18 claims, USA Patent No. 5,297,556, Granted March 29, 1994.
- Shankar, R., Early and Noninvasive Detection of Atherosclerosis, 25 claims, USA Patent No. 5,241,963, Granted Sept. 7, 1993.