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Viterbi School and Tsinghua U. Deepen Relationship after Three Years of Workshops and Student Exchanges

New research center will study "green and smart" IT energy apps; Dean Yortsos appointed THU Advisory Board member; Newest crop of summer THU students for Viterbi selected
Eric Mankin
June 01, 2009 —

The ongoing cooperation between the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Tsinghua University's School of Information Science and Technology (SIST) rose a level during the May visit of Dean Yannis C. Yortsos and a large USC delegation to Beijing.

Panelists: Iraj Ershaghi, Raghu Raghavendra and Dean Yannis C. Yortsos in front of a Viterbi School delegation
Yortsos and a group that also included Associate Dean Raghu Raghavendra, Professor Iraj Ershaghi, and more than a dozen other Viterbi faculty and staff came to THU's campus for the third in a series of annual workshop meetings that bring together faculty from the two institutions. The group included Mork Department Professor S. Joe Qin, who has a visiting appointment at THU, and many THU faculty members.

This year's workshop focused on "Green and Smart" IT with a special focus on solving problems related to energy.  It was organized from the THU side by Vice Dean Zhisheng Niu and Executive Vice Dean Jun Li.

Yortsos personally gave the main keynote presentation, including an overview of specific work at the Viterbi School in energy transformation, including "smart grid" work by C.C. Jay Kuo and Viktor Prasanna; "green computing" efforts by Massoud Pedram; and attempts to design urban paradigm energy shifts by Cyrus Shahabi, Burcin Becerik-Gerber, and Roger Ghanem.(read the complete program here)
A new Tsinghua U. Advisory Board member: Dean Yortsos accepts appointment note from THU VP Chen

The 2009 workshop will continue in institutional form: the meeting was the occasion to sign an agreement to form an ongoing joint energy research center on the Green and Smart energy topic.

Yortsos and THU Vice President Dr. Xu Chen and SIST Dean Dr. Jiaguang Sun signed an agreement establishing the center at the Beijing gathering.

Yortsos brought home another document from the meeting: VP Chen presented him with a letter from THU President appointing him as a THU Advisory Board member.

In the workshop, Ershaghi, co-director of the highly successful Viterbi School co-venture with Chevron Inc, the Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies, was one of the keynote speakers.

He talked about CiSoft's successful work using IT to develop "Smart Oilfields" that have the potential to significantly improve the percentage of crude oil that can be extracted and recovered.  He also discussed how computer modeling can be used to characterize and better understand the distribution and flow of crude oil within an oilfield asset.

Feng Deng at 2007 VSoE/THU workshop

Another continuing focus of Viterbi/Tsinghua collaboration is student exchange, bringing top THU engineering undergraduate students to the Viterbi School after the completion of their junior year to participate in summer research internships with Viterbi School faculty.

The third class of THU summer interns is on its way - and these twelve students had the opportunity to attend workshop sessions and to have lunch with the Viterbi School delegation.

Feng Deng, an alumnus of both Tsinghua and Viterbi (MSCE ’93), initiated the Tsinghua/Viterbi workshop series and continues to financially support it and the student program. Deng co-founded Northern Light Venture Capital, one of China’s top venture capital companies, after returning to China from Silicon Valley, where he was founder of Netscreen Technologies, and 2002 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Northern California.

Tsinghua 1
Full house: Viterbi delegation to Tsinghua University meeting.