New Faculty Q&A: Danny Barkan

Danny Barkan.
Danny Barkan

In general terms, what does your research consist of? How would you explain it to a class of freshmen?

My research is focused on hardware-based, autonomous decision-making systems with online learning capabilities and their application to intelligent robotic vision. I am currently involved in the development of surgeon-assistive tools for predicting the outcome of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in orthopedic patients.

What drew you to your field of study and to being a professor?

As a teenager I was attracted to computers and coding. Later on, I was eager to learn how these machines are designed and built. It led me to focus my academic career on IC design and later to research semiconductor devices. I feel that as a professor I have many more degrees of freedom to evolve and develop. In addition, I enjoy the both research and teaching.

What have you learned from your work that surprised you?

We often find ourselves in a situation where our field of research chooses us rather than we choose it.

If you could name one person who inspires you, who would it be and why?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Mahatma (Sanskrit: “great-souled”, “venerable”)
Gandhi mobilized an entire nation by nonviolent resistance and led campaigns for easing poverty, women’s rights, ending untouchability, and, achieving independence. He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

What do you like to do when you’re not teaching or researching?

Hiking and going to the beach. I am definitely an outdoors person.

If you hadn’t gone into academia, what do you think you would have done instead?

Medical doctor.

What advice do you have for students?

Keep in mind that your wellness has a tremendous affect on your mind and intellect. Find the time to take a break and recharge.

What are the most rewarding and most difficult parts of your work?

I believe that my first priority as a teacher is to help students evolve according to their individual needs. For some, it may require expanding a knowledge base, while for others to develop critical thinking. I think that in this manner students can maximize their potential; within the time frame they spend in my classroom. Passing on my knowledge is my reward as a teacher.