Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi School and Seoul National University Begin New Collaboration in Electrical Engineering

April 22, 2008 —

During a four-country sweep of the Far East, Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos spent two days in Seoul, Korea, where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with top-ranking officials of Seoul National University, a premier institution in the fields of engineering and technology.  

L-R: Kyoung Mu Lee, EE professor at SNU and USC alumnus; Jay Kuo, Viterbi School SIPI director; Katherine Aschieris, Viterbi School External Relations Office; Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos; Sang-Uk Lee, EE professor and former chair of the EE Department at SNU, also a USC alumnus; and  Hee Yhon Song, chairman of the Asia Development Institute.

The MOU, signed on March 19, outlined a commitment from both schools to cooperate in the fields of education, the exchange of faculty and students, and to collaborate in scientific areas of mutual interest to both institutions. 

Yortsos and C.C. Jay Kuo, director of the Viterbi School’s Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI), met with Jang-Moo Lee, president of the Seoul National University (SNU); Tae Jin Kang, dean of SNU’s College of Engineering; Jae Young Kim, associate dean for International Affairs in the College of Engineering; USC alumnus Sang-Uk Lee, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at SNU and former chair of that university’s Electrical Engineering Department; and Hee Yhon Song, chairman of the Asia Development Institute.

Sang-Uk Lee is regarded as the godfather of image processing in Korea.  He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at USC in 1980. In 1983, Lee became an assistant professor in the Department of Control and Instrumentation Engineering at Seoul National University, and subsequently moved up to the rank of full professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. A specialist in the areas of image and video signal processing, digital communication and computer vision, Lee is also affiliated with the Automation and Systems Research Institute and the Institute of New Media and Communications at Seoul National University.

Yortsos and Kuo also met with Kyoung Mu Lee, another USC alumnus and a Ph.D. student of Kuo’s. Kyoung Mu worked with Sang-Uk Lee as a master’s degree student, but his USC alumni mentor encouraged him to go abroad and earn his Ph.D. at USC. Kyoung Mu did that, earning his doctorate in electrical engineering at USC in 1993.  From 1993 to 1994, he served as a research associate in the Viterbi School’s Signal and Image Processing Institute. In 1995, Lee returned to Seoul, becoming an assistant professor in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at Hong-Ik University. He is currently professor of electrical engineering at SNU. Kyoung Mu Lee’s primary research interests include computational vision, shape from 1, 2 and 3-D object recognition, human-computer interface and visual navigation.

Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, right, shakes hands with Tae Jin Kang, dean of SNU's College of Engineering, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
The visit began with a meeting and overviews of both institutions, followed by a brief signing ceremony. After lunch, the USC delegation toured Seoul National University’s museum and visited the Free Economic Zone in Incheon, South Korea, a region of free international business and tourism. Asian Development Institute Chair Heel Yhon Song led the tour, which included a visit with Director in General Ms. Min.

At the conclusion of their trip, Yortsos and his delegation went on to meetings with Inha University College of Engineering and the Aerospace Institute for Engineering Research (AIER), a collaboration of Airbus, the Viterbi School, Inha University and Hankuk Aviation University of Korea.