Introducing the 2017 Toshiba Fellow

Dr. Radu Berdan

> What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply?

I had finished my PhD in memristive systems for analog circuit applications towards the end of 2016 from Imperial College London. UK. I continued my work by starting a company with my collaborators developing and commercializing measurement instrumentation and software research tools specifically tailored for memristive devices. A group at Toshiba in Kawasaki was doing complementary research and through an interesting set of events, eventually became a client of ours. I was exposed to the prospect of the Toshiba Fellowship Programme and decided to apply. Fortunately I was accepted and joined the group in November 2017.

> What research are you doing at Toshiba?

At Toshiba I’ve focused on applying emerging non-volatile memory devices in neuromorphic computing systems. The work involved several different tasks including device characterization, modelling, large scale neural network simulations, mixed-signal circuit design and learning algorithm development. The interdisciplinary nature of the research kept the work engaging and exciting along the way.

> What do you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

I was fortunate to have extremely friendly colleagues which have helped me settle down well at Toshiba and in Japan. It is a maturing experience to witness the workings of a global company like Toshiba and to do research with the purpose of commercialization. The Kawasaki campus caters to every need – there are many lunch/dinner options inside, there is a gym and a basketball court for exercising. The company also offers regular health check-ups and various fun activities that research labs compete in, such as tricycle races or paper airplane competitions. As a work-place, it is excellent.

> What do you enjoy outside work in Japan?

I have spent my free time in the evenings either socializing with my colleagues and friends, playing sports or just resting. Weekends I spend visiting a local fair or market, going hiking in the mountains in Saitama, visiting local attractions in Tokyo or taking short day trips to the beaches in Chiba. Public transportation is very convenient so you are always less than 1.5 h away from a mountain or a beach. Japan also has excellent snow for a relatively long winter season, and as such most weekends from December to March I would go on weekend organized trips to resorts in Gunma, Nagano or Niigata to snowboard. Tokyo has plenty to offer, and there are various meet-up groups which organize many events to join if somehow you get bored!