MMAE Seminar: Smart Sensors and Artificial Intelligence for Resilient and Agile Manufacturing by Prof. Ali Shakouri, Purdue University

Illinois Institutes of Technology’s Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering welcomes Ali Shakouri, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, to present a lecture, titled “Smart Sensors and Artificial Intelligence for Resilient and Agile Manufacturing,” on Wednesday, October 12, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. in Room 104 of the John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center.


Current manufacturing systems based on a global supply chain work well, producing high-volume products at low cost. However, they are fragile to perturbations (e.g., COVID-19) and even processes that are essential to success, such as new product development and manufacturing ramp-up and optimization, can be prohibitively
lengthy and expensive. Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized many industries and can be an important tool to improve the productivity and agility of manufacturing, but progress has been slow in manufacturing. In a recent National Science Foundation Future Manufacturing project with colleagues at Purdue, Harvard University, Tuskegee University, and Ivy Tech Community College, we are working to establish an AI-Commons that bridges multiple sites and companies incentivized information sharing and continuous quality improvement and training. This addresses a critical shortcoming of the current approach to AI in manufacturing: the limitation of training data to in-company data. Since AI algorithms increase in power with more data, secure data sharing and aggregation has the potential to provide vastly better AI solutions to all manufacturers. This project’s goal will be achieved by fulfilling the following four objectives: co-optimization of Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) hardware and software for manufacturing; design of privacy and confidentiality policies for an AI-Commons that encourages and incentivizes knowledge sharing; demonstration of data aggregation for some foundational manufacturing processes; and introduction of AI in manufacturing curricula and integration with workforce development. A key focus is on AI system deployment to obtain necessary data for optimization of machine learning algorithms for common manufacturing processes in pharmaceutical, food processing, and discrete part machining through a partnership with two dozen small and large manufacturers in the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network region in Indiana.


Ali Shakouri is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue. He received his diplome d’Ingenieur in 1990 from Ecole Nationale Superiere des Telecommunications in Paris and his Ph.D. in 1995 from California Institute of Technology. He was a faculty at the University of California in Santa Cruz before moving to Purdue in 2011 to lead the Birck Nanotechnology Center for 10 years. He has worked extensively in nanoscale heat transport and electrothermal energy conversion. His group has developed and commercialized a novel lock-in imaging technique to obtain thermal maps of integrated circuits and active device with submicron spatial and nanosecond time resolution. He is applying similar methods to enable real-time monitoring of functional film roll-to-roll manufacturing. He is working with two dozen faculty at Purdue from Colleges of Engineering, Science, Agriculture, Polytechnic, and Pharmacy to manufacture low-cost smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensor network. As a part of Wabash Heartland Innovation Network in the 10 counties surrounding Purdue, they are developing a living laboratory of IoT testbeds in advanced manufacturing and digital agriculture. He is currently focusing on the deployment of artificial intelligence techniques in small and medium manufacturers.