PRECISE Industry Advisory Board – Bridging the Gap Between Research and Development

Back row (from left to right): Richard Ou, Mingmin Zhao, Aiman Abdel-Malek, Dennis Ong, Insup Lee, Nikolai Matni
Front row (from left to right): Linh Thi Xuan Phan, Oleg Sokolsky, Joseph Devietti


With investment in artificial intelligence expected to approach $200 billion globally by 2025, there is more interest than ever in research that can help make AI systems safer and more effective.

To bridge the divides that often exist between academia and private industry, the Penn Research in Embedded Computing and Integrated Systems Engineering, or PRECISE Center is launching an advisory board comprised of industry leaders who will work to ensure that the Center’s research can be more quickly and efficiently applied as innovative solutions to industry challenges and commercialized products and services.

“After reflecting on our successes of the past 15 years, it’s time to capitalize on our momentum and bridge the gap between research and development,” says Insup Lee, Cecilia Fitler Moore Professor in Computer and Information Science and the founder and director of PRECISE. “The way we develop software today using AI is fundamentally different from the way we did before. Every aspect of computing has changed. Establishing a close relationship with industry leaders is paramount! An Industry Advisory Board will create synergies and facilitate the development of an ecosystem that builds cutting-edge solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing society and companies.”

PRECISE has long been a trailblazer in trying to create strong relationships between researchers and private industry. The Center’s heavy industry-focused events are unique among Penn research centers in general. On the heels of PRECISE hosting their very first Open House in 2012 and Industry Day the following year, this new Industry Advisory Board is another first.

The board is made up of three engineers and executives from companies that span the health care, business services, and technology sectors. Board chairman Aiman Abdel-Malek is currently executive chairman for Thirdwayv, a company specializing in secure connected health care solutions.

“PRECISE faculty are doing a lot of valuable research that focuses on advancing theories to applications that companies can use to ensure trustworthiness and guaranteed safety of connected, cyber-physical systems,” says Abdel-Malek, who previously served in senior roles at companies including Insulet, Frictionless Life Analytics, Qualcomm and General Electric. “The need for such systems couldn’t be more pressing in the next 10 years. PRECISE’s research to date sets it apart from the rest, as it has developed a significant body of research that can help guarantee safer AI systems, which is particularly paramount in spaces such as health care, where lives are literally at stake.”

Advisor Dennis Ong is technology leader at Amazon Web Services, where his primary role is to drive business and technology innovation for Fortune 100 companies, with an emphasis on AI/GenAI and cloud transformation. “In the machine learning community, general techniques have been developed in computer vision and natural language processing. However, when applying them to specific domains, challenges such as embedded bias and privacy shortcomings emerge,” says Ong, who previously spearheaded 5G AI research at Verizon and is a co-founder of Leading AI, an initiative that delivers leadership and AI education worldwide. “Due to the unprecedented nature of AI, it remains unclear what modifications are needed to enhance current techniques so that we can obtain better performance, including accuracy, fairness, robustness, et cetera, in different domains. For all these questions, PRECISE researchers are working at the forefront of finding answers and solutions.”

“PRECISE has already shown itself capable of conducting world-class research with wide-ranging scales of impact, from increasing the safety of life-saving medical devices to the taming of energy-guzzling data centers,” says advisor Richard Ou (GEN’23). Ou is CEO of Agorum Co., an AI-enabled freelance marketplace focused on revolutionizing the future of work. As a Penn alumnus who has advised on the deployment and commercialization of AI and blockchain technologies at Fortune 500 companies, Ou added that some of PRECISE’s current projects have incredible commercial potential, with a strong existing need in multiple industries. In particular, he spoke about PRECISE’s research into the applications of machine learning on Wi-Fi signals: “It opens up the capability to track human movements to millimeter accuracy or measure one’s breathing at almost 99% accuracy – with use cases from personal security to hands-free sleep apnea detection – it is therefore critical that we develop such technologies with safety and robustness in mind.”

“Our advisory board is an invaluable resource for us, helping to ensure that our work is relevant, effective and informed by what is happening in the world today,” says Lee. “They will serve as trusted advisors, connectors, and a sounding board for us. The perspectives and collaborations of our board members are critical to the success of the Center.”

To learn more about the PRECISE Center and our other programs, visit Penn Engineering.