The Air Force awarded Professor Robert Pilawa $360,000 over three years as part of its Young Investigator Program, which is geared toward promising researchers who have received their PhD within the last five years. The new computing systems designed for storage and processing information are intended to be lightweight and compact enough to function
on a plane.
Robert’s research group has extensive experience in the
development of high-efficiency and small-sized power converters, which to date have been designed for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, electric vehicles, data centers, and mobile elec-
tronics (see research summaries under Renewable Energy and Advanced Research Projects). Some of the techniques he has developed for solar PV applications can translate to this new research area. The challenge is to take power conversion, traditionally an entirely separate system occupying a large portion of the space and weight of any data center, and design the power delivery and the servers together. This would allow the Air Force to increase their mission time (especially when powered by solar energy) and have better communication ability.