Chen, Kim Elected Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

12/12 Pratt School of Engineering

Duke’s newest NAI fellows revolutionized how computers store and process information

portraits of Yiran Chen and Jungsang Kim
Chen, Kim Elected Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) announced that its newest class of fellows includes two faculty members of Duke University’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering: Yiran Chen and Jungsang Kim. 

Chen was inducted in recognition of his contributions to building novel storage and computing paradigms atop new nonvolatile memory technologies and hardware acceleration for artificial intelligence (AI). 

Kim is developing commercially viable quantum computers using trapped ion technology and pioneered a scalable quantum computing architecture based on trapped ion qubits.

Chen, Kim and the rest of the 2023 class of fellows will be formally inducted during the NAI national conference, set for June in Raleigh, NC. 

The 2023 fellows hail from 118 research universities, governmental and non-profit research institutions worldwide. Collectively, the 2023 fellows hold over 4,600 issued U.S. patents. Their work spans disciplines and exemplifies their dedication and inspiration to translating research into commercial technologies that benefit society—with estimated benefits of over $3 trillion in revenue and one million jobs.   

Yiran Chen

four people discuss while looking at a laptop computer
Yiran Chen, third from left, pioneered universal memory technology.

Chen pioneered universal memory technology, particularly in the field of Spin-transfer Torque Random Access Memory (STT-RAM), which uses the resistance of magnetic devices to represent information. Chen successfully prototyped the novel STT-RAM device in 2010, fueling a wave of investment from industry giants including Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and others.

His invention solved three of the most critical challenges in STT-RAM design and production: reliable read, reliable write and cost of accessibility. With those barriers removed, semiconductor foundries were able to manufacture STT-RAM at scale. The technology is frequently embedded in wearable tech like smartwatches because of its ability to prolong battery life.  

Chen has been granted 96 U.S. patents and has published over 600 technical articles. As the principal investigator and founding director of Athena, one of the 25 national AI Institutes established by the National Science Foundation, he leads pioneering research in AI-driven edge computing.

He is also editor-in-chief of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine, the flagship periodical of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society.  

Jungsang Kim

Jungsang Kim working on the inner elements of a quantum computer
Quantum computing expert Jungsang Kim currently holds 40 patents, with another 36 pending.

When Kim joined the Duke faculty in 2004, he became the anchor of what would grow to become the Duke Quantum Center, one of the world’s premiere quantum computing research hubs.

His invention became the core of IonQ, a company that he co-founded in 2015. IonQ was the first dedicated quantum computing company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is currently valued at around $3 billion.

Forty patents have been issued to Kim, and another 36 are pending. Twenty-five of these have been licensed to IonQ to develop commercially viable quantum computers using trapped ion technology.

He was an inaugural member of the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee, a program of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and U.S. Department of Energy, serving from 2020 to 2022.  

At Duke, Kim has led or co-led large-scale, multi-university centers including the $36.9 million IARPA/ARO[KK1] –LogiQ Program on Ion-Trap Quantum Archetype, the $22.5 million IARPA/ARO–MQCO Program on Modular Universal Scalable Ion-trap Quantum Computer, and the $15 million NSF–Ideas-Lab project on Software-Tailored Architecture for Quantum Co-Design.

Ceremony in Raleigh in June

The 2023 class of fellows will be honored and presented medals by an official of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during the NAI’s 13th annual conference to be held June 16-18 in Raleigh, just 40 kilometers from the Duke campus. 

“This year’s class of NAI fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem,” said Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI. “We are honored to welcome these highly regarded innovators to the academy and look forward to formally inducting them at our 2024 conference in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.” 

Duke Engineering in NAI

With the election of Yiran Chen and Jungsang Kim, there are 16 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors among Duke faculty with appointments in the Pratt School of Engineering.

Matthew L Becker Profile Photo
Matthew L Becker Profile Photo

Matthew L Becker

Hugo L. Blomquist Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Robert  Calderbank Profile Photo
Robert Calderbank Profile Photo

Robert Calderbank

Charles S. Sydnor Distinguished Professor of Computer Science

Yiran  Chen Profile Photo
Yiran Chen Profile Photo

Yiran Chen

John Cocke Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ashutosh  Chilkoti Profile Photo
Ashutosh Chilkoti Profile Photo

Ashutosh Chilkoti

Senior Associate Dean

Charles  Gersbach Profile Photo
Charles Gersbach Profile Photo

Charles Gersbach

John W. Strohbehn Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Warren M. Grill Profile Photo
Warren M. Grill Profile Photo

Warren M. Grill

Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Tony Jun  Huang Profile Photo
Tony Jun Huang Profile Photo

Tony Jun Huang

William Bevan Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Joseph A. Izatt Profile Photo
Joseph A. Izatt Profile Photo

Joseph A. Izatt

Chair of Biomedical Engineering

Jungsang  Kim Profile Photo
Jungsang Kim Profile Photo

Jungsang Kim

Schiciano Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kathryn Radabaugh Nightingale Profile Photo
Kathryn Radabaugh Nightingale Profile Photo

Kathryn Radabaugh Nightingale

Theo Pilkington Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Nimmi  Ramanujam Profile Photo
Nimmi Ramanujam Profile Photo

Nimmi Ramanujam

Robert W. Carr, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Amanda  Randles Profile Photo
Amanda Randles Profile Photo

Amanda Randles

Alfred Winborne and Victoria Stover Mordecai Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences

David R. Smith Profile Photo
David R. Smith Profile Photo

David R. Smith

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Tuan  Vo-Dinh Profile Photo
Tuan Vo-Dinh Profile Photo

Tuan Vo-Dinh

R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Blake Shaw Wilson Profile Photo
Blake Shaw Wilson Profile Photo

Blake Shaw Wilson

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences

Related News

2/19Pratt School of Engineering

Hall Wins the 2024 R. Tom Sawyer Award

Kenneth Hall was recognized for his research spanning several key areas in aerodynamics, including unsteady aerodynamics, structural dynamics and aeroelasticity.