Dean's Message
Spring 2013  No.23
Innovative Thinkers Make Global Impact

Five more faculty members have been elected Fellows of prestigious professional organizations

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

With the election of the following three academics, the total number of IEEE Fellows at HKUST has now reached 30, including 21 from the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, seven from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and two from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. HKUST had the largest number of newly elevated IEEE Fellows among universities and institutions in Hong Kong. IEEE Fellowship is the highest grade of membership. The total number of IEEE Fellows selected in any one year cannot exceed 0.1% of the total voting membership.

Prof Amine Bermak
Electronic and Computer Engineering

Prof Bermak was elected for contributions to sensing and processing of vision and olfactory circuits and systems. He is an international leader in sensor research and was among the first to pioneer the concept of time-domain sensing for vision, olfaction and temperature sensors. His research stands at the crossroads between algorithmic solutions and hardware-friendly VLSI architecture for sensors and microsystems applications. The main focus is to integrate microsystems that include sensing and processing, making the implemented microsystems smarter, autonomous and less power hungry in large-scale deployment. Applications range from smart cameras to passive RFID and electronic nose microsystems. "I would like to dedicate this IEEE Fellow honor to my students who have made real contributions in all the work I have done," he said. Future plans include greater focus on technology transfer and training of postgraduate students to become leaders in their respective fields.

Prof Mansun Chan
Electronic and Computer Engineering

Prof Chan was cited for his research on CMOS device modeling. The result of Prof Chan's work is a tool that allows designers to rapidly simulate the characteristics of new devices. One of the models was developed over 16 years, initially at HKUST and then transferred to UC Berkeley. By 2002, it had become an industrial standard >model for a state-of-the-art transistor technology. Most major companies are now using this model, including Intel and IBM. "This is a major achievement to me as it involves a practical model," Prof Chan said. "For many others, people just write a paper, and that's the end of it. But this one is actually being used. The model has been implemented in almost all simulators used in circuit design. It helps designers create new devices and shortens the time to get to the final product.

Prof Daniel Palomar
Electronic and Computer Engineering

Prof Palomar has made remarkable contributions to convex optimization-based signal processing for communications in recent years. He received the 2004 Young Author Best Paper Award from the IEEE Signal Processing Society for his publication on "Joint Tx-Rx Beamforming Design for Multicarrier MIMO Channels: A Unified Framework for Convex Optimization", co-authored with John M Cioffi and Miguel Angel Lagunas. Applications for his research include multi-antenna wireless communication systems, network optimization, robust designs via convex optimization, adhoc competitive multiuser systems via game theory, among others. His latest research includes variational inequality(VI)methods for multiuser communication systems, rank-constrained semidefinite programming, and optimization methods for financial engineering. "I love what I do. It's basically my dream come true. I look for a problem that nobody has solved and I try to see if I can use what I know to solve it," he said.

Optical Society of America (OSA)

Prof Jianan Qu
Electronic and Computer Engineering

Prof Qu was cited for his pioneering work on the development of label-free non-invasive spectroscopy and imaging technology for life science research and medical diagnosis. Working together with doctors and life scientists, Prof Qu's research focuses on non-invasive technology that can provide a high-resolution insight into what is going wrong inside cells. "Our bodies have intrinsic signals. But most of them are not strong enough so you need to develop a highly sensitive light sensor to be able to see them. That's the job of an engineer." The whole development of medical technology is led by the non-invasive concept, he said, adding that there were a lot more huge challenges to tackle. Two current theme-based research projects involve work with stem cells to help people with severe heart disease and brain disorders respectively.

International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Prof Qiang Yang
Computer Science and Engineering

Prof Yang was elected an IAPR Fellow and AAAS Fellow for his research on data mining and artificial intelligence. He was made an IEEE Fellow in 2009. Data mining involves the processing of information to make sense of all the data that we now receive on the web, phone, multimedia channels, and others. This includes data generated by GPS devices, such as mobile phones, and healthcare applications where sensors can monitor activity. Collaborators include Huawei and Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing as well as students and professors at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. "I enjoyed science fiction movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, and found IBM's Deep Blue computer fascinating. Interest is the most significant driver," he said. One of his current goals is to build a real lifelong learning system that can organize the details of a person's life and keep them up to date with their interests. "So, hopefully, in the near future, you can build your own mirror image.