HMNTL alum receives tenure-track appointment at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

8/31/2021 2:42:22 PM Kim Gudeman, HMNTL

After seven years at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, first as a graduate student and then as a postdoctoral researcher, Yansong Yang is leaving to become an assistant professor of electronic and computer engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). HKUST is a highly regarded university and one of the fastest growing higher-ed institutions in the world.

Yansong Yang“HKUST is one of the most prestigious research institutions globally and is highly selective in its faculty recruitment,” said Songbin Gong, Intel Alumni Fellow in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Yang’s adviser. “Yansong will work with top-notch students and exploit the cutting-edge facilities there to further advance the state-of-the-art radio frequency microsystems.”

Yang has spent much of his time in the Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab working on advancing 5G technology. He was the lead researcher on two papers that won Best Paper -- first at the 2018 International Microwave Symposium in Philadelphia and then at the 2019 International Ultrasonics Symposium in Glasgow, Scotland. These papers addressed the upcoming deficits in 5G frameworks by exploring some of the front-end issues that arise when current technology tries to utilize 5G networks.

To support technology such as mobile virtual and augmented reality, self-driving cars, remote surgery, and a booming Internet of Things, networks need to utilize a higher data rate in higher frequencies. Much of his research has focused on building a microsystem that works in these higher frequencies, which requires new materials and platforms.

He compares the effort to a packed highway. To prevent bottlenecks, he suggests, you can either make the car faster or widen the highway, the latter of which is the approach he has applied to bandwidth.

“In the future, we are going to want even more bandwidth to enable better communications,” said Yang, who plans to continue working in this area, and expanding into 6G, at HKUST. “To support that, we need microsystems that can tune into these higher frequencies.”

Yang, who is looking forward to working with students in his new position, says that UIUC helped prepare him for an academic career and even gave him an advantage in his job search.

“I had access to so many opportunities, kind professors and students, and wonderful facilities,” he said. “And when I was out interviewing, it became immediately clear that employers trust UIUC and the training that students receive here. Having that trust is very important as I start my career.”