Cars that drive themselves. Algorithms that predict human behavior. Powerful mini-computers that we carry around in our pockets. Technology has advanced tremendously in the past few decades, but where do we go from here? The Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios believes we have only just begun.
Mr. Lemnios (BS EE) returned to campus on November 5th and presented his talk, “Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Golden Age of Engineering.” He spoke about the potential for electrical engineers and computer scientists to revolutionize the speed and scale of current technologies, impacting the world in entirely new ways.
Thanks to the internet and low cost computing, communications, and storage, ideas are being shared worldwide at an unprecedented pace, Mr. Lemnios explained. The work of electrical engineers and computer scientists could therefore have national and global impact.
Improving computerized simulations to more accurately reflect real-world events could advance training for medical professionals, emergency responders, and defense personnel, in addition to impacting many other industries. New types of sensors could mean more discovery on our own world and, potentially, on others.
Due to such tremendous opportunity, Mr. Lemnios believes that it is crucial that electrical engineers and computer scientists win the global race in the advancement of microelectronics, AI, and quantum computing. To do so, new concepts are needed in atomic scale solid state devices, and new systems engineering thinking is needed in areas such as data curation, security, assurance, resiliency, and privacy.
“We have a remarkable opportunity to make an impact on the world as never seen before,” Mr. Lemnios said.
We have a remarkable opportunity to make an impact on the world as never seen before. The Honorable Zachary Lemnios
Mr. Lemnios presented the talk as this year’s recipient of the ECE Alumni Impact Award, the highest recognition granted by ECE to its alumni. The award recognizes alumni who have made a significant and lasting impact in any or all of the following areas: technology, education, industry, government, and/or society. Awardees are often regarded as visionaries within their field.
Currently, Mr. Lemnios leads Physical Sciences and Government Programs globally across IBM Research. His role is to extend fundamental scientific understanding and breakthroughs that enable the future of information technology. Strategic initiatives include quantum computing, neuromorphic devices and architectures, molecular imaging, silicon nanophotonics, and magnetic memory technology.
Before that, he served as VP of Research Strategy and Worldwide Operations where he led the formation and execution of the IBM Research strategy and operations across IBM's twelve global laboratories and network of co-laboratories. He also led the IBM Global Technology Outlook and worked across IBM to set the strategic direction of IBM Research.
Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Lemnios served three terms in high level civilian leadership in the Department of Defense with detailed and extended interactions across the whole of US government and with leaders across US allied nations.
In 2009, he was confirmed as The Honorable Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering) by the United States Senate. In this position, Mr. Lemnios was the Chief Technology Officer for Department of Defense and shaped the Department’s technical strategy to support the President’s national security objectives and the Secretary’s priorities. He launched Department and international initiatives in large data analytics, decision support, engineering education, electronic warfare, cyber, autonomy, advanced propulsion, hypersonics, and rail gun concepts as future capabilities for the nation. Mr. Lemnios also served as the Chief Technology Officer of MIT Lincoln Laboratory and led the development of advanced technologies in support of national security.
Mr. Lemnios was awarded Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service and the Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He also received special recognition from the Australian Government Department of Defence.
In addition to his BS EE from U-M, Mr. Lemnios received his MS EE from Washington University in St. Louis and an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Tiffin University. He has served on numerous national security, industry, and academic committees, and he has authored over 40 papers. He holds four patents in advanced GaAs device and MMIC technology and is a Fellow of IEEE.