University of South Florida


Jacob Gayles in lab

U.S. Air Force selects USF physicist to identify new methods to improve efficiency and eco-friendliness of computers

By: Cassidy Delamarter, University Communications and Marketing

A USF physicist has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to advance efforts to make computers smaller, faster and better for the environment. With funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Young Investigator Program, Assistant Professor Jacob Gayles aims to improve technology efficiency by using materials that reduce cost and waste. 

He plans to explore various metals that conduct electricity more efficiently, store information more robustly and are protected from electromagnetic waves that can temporarily or permanently disable electrical and electronic equipment. 

The three-year, $450,000 grant will give Gayles access to supercomputing resources through the Air Force to explore more complicated and extensive systems, allowing thousands of calculations simultaneously. The data will be used to develop equations and models that will eventually be used to test the materials and their capabilities. 

“This money will allow us to get started on a project that could revolutionize computing,” Gayles said. “If we continue down our current path with technology, it is not sustainable – we need better materials.”

Cole Gibson

Assistant Professor Jacob Gayles, Post-doctoral Associate Bushra Sabir, Undergraduate Student Cole Gibson, Professor Dario Arena

For nearly 15 years, Gayles has focused on understanding the fundamental aspects of materials and exploring various concepts, such as the amount of physical space and energy consumed by the abundance of computers and cell phones on our planet. This led him to researching solutions to securely store information and conduct electricity better than materials previously used in technology. 

The grant will also allow Gayles to recruit students nationally and internationally to provide perspectives from a variety of backgrounds to work toward the solution.

“Bringing on more students will allow for new approaches,” said Cole Gibson, a physics and mathematics undergraduate student who joined Gayles’ research group. “Our current level of analysis has given us confidence that the line of inquiry is worthwhile, so the natural step forward is developing a more sophisticated model and better means to analyze the data.”

Once recruitment is complete, the team of students will help Gayles test and develop models that are easy for any audience to understand.

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