Outstanding CityU scientist wins the 2016 Norbert Wiener Award

Emily Law


Professor Yan has won the 2016 Norbert Wiener Award.
Professor Yan Hong, Chair Professor of Computer Engineering and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), has won the 2016 Norbert Wiener Award.
The award signals international acclaim for Professor Yan’s contribution to pattern recognition, image processing, genomic data analysis and biomolecular modelling techniques, all of which are important in the fields of information technology and medical treatment.
Professor Yan is an expert in image recognition technologies and applications, and he has extensive research on computational molecular and structural biology.
His team has studied biomolecular structures at the atomic level and devised a method for analysing the surface curvature of a biomolecule. The interactions between two biomolecules, such as two proteins, or a protein and a drug molecule, can be predicted using their algorithms. This process will help us understand the effect of certain drugs on a cancer cell.
Professor Yan has worked out computational methods for studying protein mutations and their effects on non-small cell lung cancer that is resistant to drugs. Using the method developed by Professor Yan’s group, scientists can predict drug resistance levels and determine which drugs are the most effective for specific mutations. Medical doctors can use the results to plan the best treatment for a cancer patient.
“I feel that doing interdisciplinary research is rewarding,” said Professor Yan, who believed the award was a recognition for his group’s work and an encouragement for his team. “I was trained as an electrical engineer, and I realise there is a lot to learn in mathematics, physics and molecular biology in order to work on molecular modelling.”
He added that it was always a joy to gain broad knowledge and tackle major research problems in science and engineering. Through interdisciplinary research, he hoped his team could make contributions to society, such as helping to save the lives of cancer patients.
Currently Professor Yan is working on a tensor computing project in collaboration with mathematicians, computer scientists and medical doctors. He believes that advances in tensor research can help us to solve difficult problems in image analysis and molecular modelling.
IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. The Norbert Wiener Award was established in 1980 by the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society. It is regarded as the IEEE's highest award in the field of cybernetics.
The award was presented to Professor Yan at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics held in Budapest.


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