Logo: University of Southern California

USC Viterbi School Hosts Sixth Annual Joint Symposium with Tsinghua University

USC hosts a two-day workshop on Green Technology and Energy Informatics
Maria Zamora
May 04, 2012 —

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering and China’s Tsinghua University School of Information Science and Technology successfully completed their sixth joint symposium with a faculty summit on Green Technology and Energy Informatics held on the USC campus. Tsinghua University School of Information Science and Technology Executive Vice Dean Jun Li led a delegation of 11 faculty members from his school to USC for the two-day workshop held May 2-3.

The continuing collaboration between the two schools is made possible through the generosity of Feng Deng, an alumnus of both schools. Deng founded Netscreen Technologies in Silicon Valley and was a recipient of the 2002 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Northern California. He later returned to China to co-found Northern Light Venture Capital, one of China's top venture capital companies.

USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett and USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos welcomed the guests while event chairs USC Viterbi Vice Dean for Academic Initiatives (East Asia and China) S. Joe Qin and Tsinghua University Vice Dean Zhisheng Niu opened faculty presentations with keynote speeches.

During the opening, Garrett remarked: “Rapidly developing technology has facilitated the fading of borders by helping us connect, communicate and discover in ways unimaginable not so long ago. Nations of the Pacific Rim have spawned this transformation, and research universities are at the core of these intellectual pursuits. That is why it is vital for USC and Tsinghua University to continue this productive exchange as we move from international collaborators to a truly global academic community.”

In his welcome, Dean Yortsos spoke about the Viterbi School's deepening connections with China. And he shared plans to co-host a global Grand Challenges of Engineering summit outside the U.S. in 2013, "a Davos of Engineering," which will build from a partnership between the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the British Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Nearly twenty faculty from the Viterbi School and Tsinghua's School of Information Science and Technology gathered for the schools' Symposium on Green Technology and Energy Informatics

Tsinghua University Professor and Low Carbon Energy Lab Executive Director Qiang Yao summarized the 30-year history in the U.S./China cooperation in achieving mutually beneficial energy goals. Yao concluded with the need for continued collaboration between the two major energy producers and consumers.

Viktor K. Prasanna, USC Charles Lee Powell Chair in Electrical Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Computer Science focused his discussion on Research in Energy Informatics.

Bo Li and her Tsinghua University undergraduate professor Qian Huang

USC Viterbi Vice Dean for Global Academic Initiatives, Cauligi ‘Raghu' Raghavendra noted that several USC Viterbi and Tsinghua students are selected each summer to visit and study at the partnering campus for five to eight weeks.

“That exchange has paved the way to bring a number of undergraduates from Tsinghua — one of the top universities in the world — to Viterbi School graduate programs,” says Raghavendra.

The benefits of this ‘paved way’ were evident in the first Ph.D. student research poster session where many of the presenters had earned undergraduate degrees from Tsinghua University and are now pursuing a Ph.D. at USC Viterbi.

The 15 research subjects included such topics as:

  • Ning Liu [Presenter] and Fokion Egolfopoulos, Ignition Characteristics of Jet Fuel Components, USC Viterbi Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Yighui Hu [Presenter] and Steven Nutt, Transverse Compression of Unidirectional Carbon Fiber/Epoxy and glass Fiber/Epoxy Composites, USC Viterbi M.C. Gill Composites Center Mork Family Department of Chemical and Materials Science
  •  Lijuan Zu [Presenter] and Qiang Huang, EM Estimation of Nanostructure Interactions with Incomplete Feature Measurement and its Tailored Space Filling Designs, USC Viterbi Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

The visit was commemorated in a formal welcome dinner where leaders from both universities exchanged gifts and expressed mutual appreciation for the continuing success of this collaborative annual event.

P 1010200
USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos and Tsinghua University School of Information Science and Technology Vice Dean Zhisheng Niu
The series alternates locations between Tsinghua University and USC each year. The previous forum was at Tsinghua University in Beijing in April 2011, and brought a nine-member delegation from USC to Tsinghua University, led by Dean Yortsos.

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

As Tsinghua University Vice Dean Qin noted following the forum, “the presentations demonstrate the strong collaboration that has taken place between Tsinghua University and USC faculty. Indeed, there has been much coordinated research between professors.”

The previous forum at USC was held in April 2010, and brought 16 Tsinghua University faculty to USC, led by Vice Dean Niu and Executive Vice Dean Jun Li of the THU School of Information Science and Technology.