EECS Graduate Student Receives UC Excellence in Teaching Award

By:        Ashley Duvelius
Date:     November 22, 2017

Alex Jones received UC’s 2017-18 Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Assistants, in recognition of his exemplary pedagogy and attendant activities.

Alex Jones receives UC teaching award.

University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Computer Engineering PhD student, Alex Jones, has been awarded the UC 2017-18 Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Assistants.

As a Teaching Assistant within the CEAS Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Jones teaches the Introduction to Digital Design course for sophomore electrical and computer engineering students this semester.  Previously, he has taught the Programming for Electrical and Computer Engineering course for freshmen students in addition to several other courses in the EECS department.

Jones earned his BS and MS in Computer Engineering from UC. Now, as a doctoral student, his research centers around neuromorphic computing, which is the study of implementing neural networks in hardware.  

He explains, “There are currently a lot of tasks that humans can perform well that modern computers cannot.  These tasks include things such as being able to recognize a chair is a chair by looking at it from any angle, or other tasks that have simply too many variables for a normal computer to reasonably track. Neural networks can often handle these type of tasks whereas current computers aren’t programmed to handle the amount of information presented.  Often times however, software-implemented neural networks can take a long time to learn very specific tasks.  Building neural networks into hardware (aka neuromorphic computing) can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes the neural network to learn.  This could have an immense impact in the fields of information processing and artificial intelligence.  Many companies in the computing industry are now looking at neuromorphic computing as the next big step in the computing field.”

As the recipient of the UC Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Assistants, Jones will be given a $1,000 award and is invited to attend the University’s 2018 Graduate School Awards Banquet. Additionally, the University is nominating Jones for the prestigious Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award for doctoral students.