Institute of Hard AI

AI by hardware, AI of hard stuff, and AI for physical things


Virtual meets physical; bytes meet atoms. The full power of AI is at the interface between what we code and what we touch. Intended to become a national leader at this frontier and guided by a top-tier alumni Advisory Board, Purdue’s Institute of Hard AI combines research, teaching and commercialization in 3 areas:

AI by hardware: Future AI applications will place unprecedented demands on computing platforms requiring advances in function-specific AI hardware to control complex systems and interconnected processes. Autonomous and connected systems, energy generation/distribution, health care, and smart agriculture are examples of systems that will require specially-designed AI chips. Leveraging our unique strength in cognitive computing, the Institute for Hard AI will focus on a unique algorithm-to-hardware co-design approach, addressing challenges at all levels: algorithms, system architecture, circuits, and devices.

AI of hard stuff: The location for AI is increasingly dispersed through edge computing, where computation, communication, and control all move closer to the end users and are dispersed in a distributed, variable, highly constrained and under-organized computing substrate. This brings new challenges to the design of AI systems, including hardware heterogeneity, robustness, and the need for extreme energy efficiency. Purdue has some of the world’s leading experts in edge computing, remote sensing, and 5G systems. AI doesn’t just live in the cloud, it will be all around us.

AI for physical things: When AI is used for decisions at the interface of virtual-physical worlds, the criteria for success change. For example, responsiveness and safety matter no less than accuracy and throughput. From autonomous trucks to pharmaceutical manufacturing, from nuclear reactor operation to connected things in digital agriculture, Purdue leads the nation anytime applications touch physical things.

AI is made possible by hard stuff, as algorithms live in silicon. And AI is not just about computing and learning but also moving and making physical objects. For AI that’s hard, come to Purdue.




Kaushik Roy
Edward G. Tiedemann, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Learning algorithms, cognitive computing
AI hardware, energy-efficient computing
Neuromimetic devices

Principal Investigators

Faculty To Be Announced

Advisory Board

To Be Announced
To Be Announced
To Be Announced
To Be Announced

Education and Engagement


The Hard AI Institute develops courses at the intersection of AI algorithms and hardware for both academia and industry. Using tried and true curriculum approaches that have been effective and successful in the College of Engineering, the institute addresses challenges at all levels: algorithms, system architecture, circuits, and devices. Classroom instruction, guided by a top-tier alumni advisory board, is delivered by some of the world’s top experts on edge computing, remote sensing, and 5G systems.


Purdue Engineering engages with top-tier industry leaders to elevate innovation to the highest peaks. Corporate partnerships enhance Purdue learning and research as well as business and the economy, generating life-changing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Students and faculty join with industry to create breakthroughs that benefit multiple industry sectors, including manufacturing, artificial intelligence, autonomous transportation, pharmaceutical engineering, smart agriculture, energy, healthcare, life sciences, financial services, and information technology. Corporate engagement takes many forms in the College of Engineering, from curriculum innovation to workforce development to research impact to entrepreneurship. Through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, which in 2020 was ranked No. 6 in the world for the number of patents it received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Engineering faculty have successfully patented and commercialized their technologies for successful and wide use in industry.

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  • Institute of Hard AI