Larry Jackel Ė Bio


Larry Jackel completed his PhD in Experimental Physics at Cornell University in 1976 with a thesis on the physics and applications of superconducting weak links. He then joined Bell Labs Research in Holmdel NJ where he partnered with Evelyn Hu and Richard Howard, starting a new group in Microscience and Microfabrication. This group invented numerous techniques for producing electronic devices at the nanometer scale and set world records for smallest active electronic devices and smallest semiconductor structures. In addition to Howard, Hu, and Jackel, key members of this group included Robert Behringer, Roger Epworth, Linus Fetter, Paul Grabbe, Paul Mankiewich, Donald Tennant, and William Skocpol.


In 1985 Jackel became Head of the newly created Device Structures Research Department and he was given the charter ďto make something newĒ happen at Bell Labs. Starting with a group that initially consisted of Hans Peter Graf, Linus Fetter, and Roger Epworth, a new Department was built that was eventually recognized as one of the leading Machine Learning groups in the world. At first, the groupís efforts focused on microfabrication of electronic neural-net synapse arrays, but it soon became clear that the most important science in neuro-morphic computing would be done in software, and Jackel shifted the groupís emphasis to Learning Theory and its applications.


Enormous talent gathered in the Holmdel Machine Learning group, including such researchers as Bernhard Boser, Leon Bottou,  Jane Bromley, Corinna Cortes,  John Denker, Harris Drucker, Hans Peter Graf, Isabelle Guyon, Don Henderson, Wayne Hubbard, Yann LeCun, Nada Matic, Urs Muller, Edi Sackinger, Patrice Simard, Marcus Schenkel, Bernard Scholkopf, Sara Solla, Rulei Ting, and Vladimir Vapnik, While in Jackelís group, Vapnik, together with members Isabelle Guyon and Bernhard Boser, invented Support Vector Machines, one of the most widely used pattern recognition methods. Members of Jackelís department were also joined by members of Rich Howardís department in the machine learning effort, including Dan Schwarz and Stuart Mackie.


In order to quantify success of the various learning methods and to reap practical commercial benefits from the research, Jackel chose target applications in pattern recognition.  He co-located the research group with Charles Stenardís development team and the combined group produced software that was used to process about 20% of the checks written in the US. The group also created software used in NCR ATMs. A key invention applied to this task was created by Yann LeCun and coworkers who conceived of convolutional neural nets for character recognition.


After the breakup of AT&T in 1995, Jackel created a new Division in AT&T Labs that pioneered web-based, unified messaging and IP controlled call-management services.  He also took on a Division Manager role in Product Management for AT&T WorldNet, AT&Tís new ISP service.  He coordinated efforts between his two groups, fostering the webmail system that was first adopted by AT&T and is now used by Comcast. At its peak, it had about 20 million accounts.  That system was architected by Urs Muller who was a team leader in Jackelís Division and much of the code was written by Mullerís team.


In 2002 Jackel left AT&T and started North-C Technologies, Inc. a consulting company. Through North-C he consulted for DARPA on potential new programs in Cognitive Systems and in June 2003 he joined DARPA as a Program Manager.


At DARPA, Jackel conceived and actively managed three new research programs (LAGR, UPI, and Learning Locomotion) that applied advanced perception and control technology to autonomous ground robots. He also conceived and actively managed a new program in universal document archives. Total combined budget of managed programs was ~ $80M.


Jackel is now doing independent consulting in robotics, telecom, and image processing as President of North C.


Building on work he did at DARPA, Jackel is now exploring ways to bring automated vehicles into civilian use.


Jackel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  He has published over 140 papers in professional journals and holds over 15 US patents.