Major award for CityU’s electronic engineering expert

Michael Gibb

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​​Prof Chan Chi-hou
Professor Chan Chi-hou

One of the leading scientists at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has been honoured with a highly prestigious award in the field of computational electromagnetics (CEM).

Professor Chan Chi-hou, Chair Professor of the Department of Electronic Engineering (EE) and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Terahertz and Millimeter Waves, has been named as the recipient of the 2019 IEEE AP-S Harrington-Mittra Computational Electromagnetics Award for his outstanding achievements in the field. 

“This is a truly wonderful honour for me,” said Professor Chan, who has worked at CityU for over 20 years. “I would like to thank the University, all my former professors, my excellent colleagues at CityU and our partners for all their support.”

The Harrington-Mittra Computational Electromagnetics Award, established in 2013, recognises the past technical accomplishments and future potential of an outstanding contributor to the area of computational electromagnetics.

Professor Chan has received the honour for his “fundamental contributions to fast solutions of integral equations using fast Fourier transform (FFT) with applications to scattering, antennas and interconnect structures in homogeneous and layered medium”.

A key part of his research has focused on the use of FFT in several algorithms that Professor Chan has pioneered for solving a wide variety of electromagnetic problems. 

“Essentially, a part of my work has been to cast an electromagnetic problem into solving a matrix equation whose solution can be achieved efficiently using FFT,” said Professor Chan, who studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Professor Raj Mittra after whom the award is co-named. 

Following his contributions to the development of fast numerical algorithms, he is now recognised as a leading expert on the analysis of periodic structures, i.e. a structure that comprises an infinite or finite repetition of a unit in various dimensions, like you see in crystals or on the door screen of a microwave oven, for example.

His work has been used by major corporations in the US and Japan, and has applicability to electronic packaging and analysing rough surfaces such as the sea, especially for use in looking at the weather.

In addition to CEM, a field in which Professor Chan has worked for more than three decades, he has extended his research interest to antennas, microwave and millimetre-wave components and systems, and more recently to terahertz science and engineering. He has published nine book chapters, 263 journal papers and 248 conference papers. He would like to thank Professor Luk Kwai-man, Chair Professor of EE who introduced him to the wonderful research of antennas two decades ago.

“I’ve been very lucky through my career to have worked with some very smart people, including professors, post docs and graduate students. I feel very humbled to have won this award, and I thank all of my collaborators,” said Professor Chan, who has won numerous awards during his career including at the start the prestigious Presidential Young Investigator Award from the US National Science Foundation in 1991.

In addition, Professor Chan has been honoured with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award by the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Alumni Board of Directors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

“I will treasure this award,” he said. “UIUC’s expertise in electrical and computer engineering is world-class and the university is very selective about whom it gives this award to! It’s also special because I will receive it at the 50th Annual Alumni Awards Banquet to be held in September this year.”


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