Dean's Message
Summer 2012  No.22
Early Researchers Shine

School of Engineering undergraduates have turned early research opportunities with HKUST's renowned academics into prize-winning studies, taking three of the top awards in the 2012 Mr Armin and Mrs Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award Competition.

The signature Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) leverages HKUST’s expertise as a globally renowned research institution to provide students across the University with a significant opportunity to engage in academic research ahead of graduation. All students who successfully complete a UROP course can be nominated for the research award contest.

Computer Science and Engineering undergraduates Qifeng Chen and Yuliang Li came first and joint third respectively in this year's competition, which awards honors based on the quality of students' written reports and their performance at the final presentations.

Qifeng's winning project focused on "KNN Matting", with the paper exploring a general alpha matting approach for the simultaneous extraction of multiple image layers. An application for such work is to make it easy to replace a background. The paper was accepted by the prestigious Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2012 conference held in Rhode Island, US, in June. In addition to attending the conference, Qifeng, who was supervised by Prof C K Tang, has accepted a PhD offer from Stanford University.

Yuliang received a second runner-up award for his project "Mining Generalized Order-Preserving SubMatrices from Gene Expression Data", supervised by Prof Wilfred Ng. The project explored the Order-Preserving SubMatrix (OPSM) pattern, which had previously been shown to be an effective tool for analyzing gene expression data.

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Zhiwei Qiu received the first runner-up award for his outstanding achievements in the project "SnO2/Graphene Nanocomposite as an Anode Material in Lithium-Ion Batteries", supervised by Prof Jang-Kyo Kim.