Yoeri van de Burgt nominated as Science Talent 2018

The contenders for the title New Scientist Science Talent 2018 have been announced today. One of the 25 talents is TU/e researcher Yoeri van de Burgt, who works in the Microsystems group of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The public can vote between 24 April and 6 May and the presentation ceremony will take place on 31 May in TivoliVredenburg Utrecht.

This year for the fourth time, New Scientist, a popular science magazine, is organizing the search for the bioggest research talent. All Dutch and Belgian universities and knowledge institutions were allowed to submit a maximum of three candidates. The shortlist of 25 has been determined from this long list of 55 candidates.

Announcement May 31st

A professional jury and the public will jointly determine which 5 researchers will be able to present their research at the New Scientist Live event on 31 May. The New Scientist Science Talent will be announced at the end of the evening, with the winner also receiving a cash prize of € 2500, made possible by the Rathenau Institute.

According to New Scientist, Van de Burgt has been nominated not only because the content of his research is of good quality but also because it is easy to popularize and make digestible for the general public. The election offers young scientists a platform to display their research to the general public. Van de Brugt's research is about the development of brain-inspired – neuromorphic – systems.

Mimicking the brain

Artificial intelligence is currently made possible by artificial neural networks that mimic the brain and its outstanding qualities in the field of pattern recognition in such a way that these systems can be trained to perform certain tasks quickly and efficiently. The current artificial neural networks are essentially simulation packages that run on conventional energy-hungry supercomputers. These packages require an extreme amount of calculation time, so they are not fast.

Van de Burgt explains what his most important result is: "We have laid the foundation for a solution to this problem not by simulating these networks but by physically realizing them using cheap organic (plastic) materials. The special properties of these materials allow them to be trained easily to form faster and energy-efficient artificial neural networks."

In 2015 Maaike Kroon won the first election of the New Scientist Science Talent.