Logo: University of Southern California

USC Viterbi School and Tsinghua University Hold Fifth Faculty Summit

THU's Beijing campus is the site of a gathering discussing “Green and Smart for a Sustainable Future"

July 29, 2011 —

Dean Yortsos and other THU faculty summit attendees compare notes
The ongoing collaboration between the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and China’s elite Tsinghua University (THU) in Beijing recorded its fifth successful year, with a joint faculty summit on “Green and Smart for a Sustainable Future” held on the THU campus. This was the third year that sustainability has been the focus of the annual event.

USC Viterbi School Vice Dean for Global Academic Initiatives Cauligi “Raghu” Raghavendra organized the program together with THU Vice Dean Zhisheng Niu.

“We want to encourage joint research by Viterbi and Tsinghua faculty,” Raghavendra said following the forum. “A lot of time at the meeting was spent talking about possibilities and opportunities, and we are seeing more collaboration.”

Dean Yannis C. Yortsos joined numerous Viterbi faculty members making presentations. Angus McColl, USC Viterbi School's executive director of corporate and foundation relations also attended along with S. Joe Qin, Viterbi's vice dean for academic initiatives (East Asia and China).

The discussions and presentations centered on relations between energy and information technology (IT), both the use of IT to maximize energy efficiency and also ways to create more energy efficient IT.

Dean Yortsos opened the program with an overview of energy related research at USC. Other Viterbi faculty presented original views and the results of new research lines, including:

An international meeting of minds.

  • Qin gave an overview of energy informatics, while Rahul Jain (EE) discussed “Incentive Pricing and Market Architecture for Renewable Energy Integration.”
  • Murali Annavaram (EE) reviewed the status of energy efficient communication systems, while Fokion Egolfopoulos (AME) spoke about “Conventional and Alternative Fuel Utilization.”
  • Cyrus Shahabi, director of the Viterbi School’s Integrated Media Systems Center, which is now focusing on "geo-immersion," reviewed novel energy management systems, while Viterbi computer science chair Shang-Hua Teng discussed recent work.

THU faculty contributed parallel presentations, including a special keynote report on “Chinese Intelligent Transportation Systems” by Yi Xhang of the THU automation department, and also a report on “Low Carbon Energy Technologies Needed in China” by Qiang Ya, director of THU’s low carbon lab.

Additionally, Zhengyuan Hu, a member of the State Council of China, gave a wide-ranging talk on efforts to create regional energy efficiencies.

A July meeting in Beijing, after the THU forum:  From left to right, Eva Ming, Ming Hsieh, Feng Deng, Chengyu Fu, S. Joe Qin and Stella Li of the Viterbi School office.

At the event, Dean Yorstos saluted the founder and patron of the summit series.

"We owe our success to our benefactor Feng Deng, who is an alumnus of both universities," said Yortsos. "His generous financial support coupled with his personal desire to bring together the best faculty and student talent allows the workshops, faculty visits and summer student exchange programs to continue year after year. We truly appreciate his vision and generosity."

While Feng, founder of Netscreen Technologies in Silicon Valley and Northern Light Venture Capital in China did not attend this year's summit, he subsequently met in Beijing with Qin and two other illustrious Viterbi alumni-entrepreneurs: EE Department namesake Ming Hsieh and Chengyu Fu, chairman of the China Petrochemical Company.

And the forum followed a visit earlier this year to THU by Viterbi professor Kai Hwang (CS), who delivered the Tsinghua Global Vision Lecture “Global Advances in Computer and Information Technology: Can China Take the Lead?” in THU’s FIT lecture hall.

During his lecture, Hwang shared his ideas about several global advances in computer, networking and information technology and discussed the great IT challenges yet to be confronted in industry and in the building of world-class universities. In his address, he stressed the need to learn from successful examples of development in order to achieve a broader impact on the world economy and to "build a harmonious society."

And another Viterbi/THU tradition continued this summer, as 18 Tsinghua University students came to USC as visiting scholars, while six Viterbi students went to THU.

The series alternates locations between THU and USC each year. The previous forum was at USC in April 2010, and brought a 16-member faculty delegation from THU to USC, led by Vice Dean Niu and Executive Vice Dean Jun Li of the THU School of Information Science and Technology.

Participants join for a photo.