students with pads in hands

Education & Outreach

Athena is committed to educating and developing our workforce, cultivating a diverse next generation of technical leaders who will ensure the ethical and fair use of AI. Together with its industrial and government partners, Athena will spearhead collaboration and knowledge transfer to maximize the translation of AI-empowered edge computing into new business opportunities.


The Athena REU will run during Summer 2023 at 3 different sites. Specific dates will be arranged by your host. Currently we are planning for our REU to be in-person for Summer 2023. However, if there are unforeseen circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have to shift to a virtual REU including virtual meetings, social activities, and interaction with mentors.

We will keep students informed if plans do change.


  • Undergraduate students majoring in a Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics (STEM) discipline 
  • US citizens or permanent residents
  • Undergraduates in good academic standing

Rolling deadline for applications starting December 31, 2022

Apply at

Project Descriptions: 

Daniel Limbrick, North Carolina A & T

Research in artificial intelligence for self-driving cars has challenges in collecting road data for
scenarios with broad coverage and simulating realistic environments with accuracy. In this project,
students will create a small-scale testbed of a city environment that allows for a collection of
autonomous vehicles (small cars powered by single-board computers, e.g., NVIDIA Jetson Xavier),
that can run autonomous driving software with AI. These cars will be equipped with cameras and
other sensors to conduct federated learning, mixed-reality, and cybersecurity studies.
(First years - Seniors; Dates: 6/5/2023 - 8/4/2023)

Younghyum Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison
We will investigate energy-efficient machine learning (ML) for edge computing. ML at the edge offers
the benefits of low latency, network independence, and privacy, but state-of-the-art ML models are
too complex to process for low-power processors at the edge. We explore approximate computing
approaches to improve energy efficiency of ML computing while maintaining the accuracy of ML
algorithms. (Juniors/Seniors: 05/15/2023 - 8/15/2023) 

Bhuvana Krishnaswamy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Electrical signal measurements on plants using low-power microcontrollers. It has been theorized that
plants use electrical signaling to communicate information from one part to another. In this project, a
student will build a sensor module that connects electrodes to the leaves of various plants and
measure their electrical activity and report them to a cloud server. We will use ML algorithms to
correlate the environmental conditions to the electrical activity and take intelligent decisions on the
next steps e.g., amount of fertilizer to be added, irrigation, protection from sun, bugs among others.
(First years – Juniors; 5/15/2023 - 8/15/2023)

In this project, we will build a wireless transmitter-receiver link using a low-power microcontroller
module. The transmitter module will include a few sensors connected to a micro-controller which then
inputs the data to the wireless block. The microcontroller will be operated in low power/sleep mode
during the majority of the time. On the receiver, the wireless module receives the data, uploads it to a
cloud server, and builds a data analytics interface to visualize the received data.
(Juniors/Seniors; 5/15/2023 - 8/15/2023)  


Join Athena as a post-doctoral fellow

Post-Doctoral Fellowships in the NSF National AI Institute for Edge Computing Leveraging Next Generation Networks (Athena)

The NSF-funded National AI Institute for Edge Computing Leveraging Next Generation Networks invites applications for Postdoctoral Fellowships from early-career engineers, natural and social scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, and educators. The Athena postdoctoral fellowships are ideally suited to scholars seeking interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary opportunities to develop and apply AI to edge computing devices and systems. Our Institute is organized in four thrust areas: 1) AI-powered networking at the edge, 2) AI-powered computer systems at the edge, 3) Advancing AI for mobile networks, and 4) AI-enabled services and applications for next-generation mobile networks. Preference will be given to candidates who can facilitate cross-thrust collaborations among research groups at Athena-affiliated institutions: Duke, MIT, NC A&T, Princeton, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and/or Yale. Selection will be made based on the candidate’s academic and/or industrial experience, expected impact of the proposed research, and potential to broaden participation in the Institute by women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities.

To be eligible for an Athena Postdoctoral Fellowship, individuals must: 1) have received a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or equivalent), and 2) be able to start the fellowship in residence with an Athena-affiliated research group by April 30, 2022. Initial fellowship awards will be made for one-year and may be extended. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact one or more Athena investigators (listed at to discuss their research interests prior to making an application.

To apply, please provide a current curriculum vitae, research statement to include a proposed research plan (maximum 2 pages), name(s) of potential host Athena investigator(s), and the names and contact information of three references. These materials should be e-mailed to

Participating Universities

Duke University logo
MIT logo
NC A&T logo
Princeton University logo
University of Michigan logo
University of Wisconsin logo
Yale logo