MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Welcomes Third Cohort of Early-Stage Deep Tech Innovation Projects

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program awards $370,000 in funding to four next-generation computing projects

DETROIT, Dec. 9, 2021 — The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing, with key support from the state through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), recently awarded a combined $370,000 in funding to four translational research projects led by researchers from Michigan universities. These projects aim to tackle Deep Tech opportunities in high impact sectors, such as Anti-Deep Fake technology, AI-based decision support, and next generation computing.

“We are excited to see impressive disruptive innovations and participation from so many Michigan universities for the 3rd year of the program. The 3rd cohort awardees are the proof that Deep Tech research are thriving in every Michigan research institution. The MTRAC Advanced Computing Innovation Hub is proud to be the earliest lab-to-market support platform dedicated for the innovators tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Edward Kim, program director of MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing.

Researchers presented their proposals to an oversight committee (OC) composed of leading technologists, successful tech entrepreneurs, industry partners and venture capitalists with a track record of commercializing and investing in frontier technologies. In addition to funding, the researchers will receive valuable mentorship support from the committee members as their projects progress toward commercialization.

Doug Neal, Managing Director & Co-Founder of eLab Ventures and an oversight committee member, stated “Although a significant amount of research is focused on deep tech innovations, additional capital and support for innovators are needed to help accelerate commercialization of these impressive technologies in Michigan. Working on transformative frontier technology requires risk taking and collaboration. I applaud the MEDC and MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing for providing very early-stage de-risking funds as well as a platform to foster collaboration across multiple sectors and industries.”

The four projects funded by the hub focus on transformational innovations that have the potential to bring disruptive solutions to the market in their respective fields. Funded projects include:

  • Dr. William Endres (Michigan Tech University) is developing a novel cooling technology that can deliver 2-3x cooling capacity for high powered CPUs and GPUs that enable AI and other Deep Tech innovations.
  • Dr. Jeff Horn (Northern Michigan University) invented an algorithm based on evolutionary computation that can evaluate every possible outcome in parallel to minimize substrate material waste.
  • Dr. Khalid Malik (Oakland University) is working on an Anti-Deep Fake technology and Deep Forgery Detector (DFD), incorporating deep learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies to detect visual deepfakes as well as voice cloning.
  • Dr. Yongchao Yang (Michigan Tech University) is developing an AI-based noncontact sensing technology called Super-Resolution Acoustic Imaging (SURE-AI). The innovation can detect micro-defects in critical structures such as aircraft, bridges, and wind turbines.

“We are committed to fostering talent and technology commercialization within our state at the research level by creating collaboration opportunities that ultimately strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem and put Michigan at the forefront of the innovative technologies market,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at the MEDC. “While these research projects are still in their early stages, they show great promise. The funds and mentorship they receive from the MTRAC program are an important step to take these projects from concept to commercialization.”

The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Technologies is administered by the WSU Technology Commercialization Office. The hub is part of a network of statewide innovation hubs that includes the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences at the University of Michigan, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University, the MTRAC Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Technological University and the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation at the University of Michigan. Each hub is strategically located at a university with significant strengths in the sector, further increasing the quality and quantity of resources available.

The MTRAC program itself is supported by funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund and administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner institutions. Since inception of the statewide system in 2016 through September 2021, MTRAC programs have received 494 proposals, funded 234 projects, developed 44 startup companies, licensed 41 technologies to industry partners and secured more than $180 million in follow-on funding.

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more information on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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