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President Tony F Chan

Office Address: Office of President, HKUST, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, Stanford University, June 1978. (Advisor: Joe Oliger)
  • M.S. (Aeronautics), B.S. (Engineering, Honors), Caltech, June 1973. (Both degrees same year)


  • President, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Sept 2009 – present. I am the 3rd President of HKUST. Under my leadership, HKUST’s global visibility and recognition has significantly increased, with wide international media coverage, strategic partnerships established with world-renowned institutions (EPFL, Caltech, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, USC…), and invitations to global platforms such as the World Economic Forum in Davos (HKUST was the first Asian university to present an IdeasLab) and the Glion Symposium. The University’s global ranking has improved consistently— currently 30th in the world (QS), 4th in Asia (QS), top 2 among young universities globally (QS & THE), and 13th in the Global Employability University Ranking. During my term, the University has transitioned smoothly from a three year to a four year undergraduate curriculum. In UGC-led HK-wide Research Assessment Exercise 2014, HKUST has attained outstanding results, with world-leading and internationally excellent levels for 70% of its research submissions, 19% higher than the next highest. I have also championed the use of new technology in education and HKUST was the first university in Asia to offer MOOCs on both Coursera and edX. The percentage of undergraduates who exchange overseas for at least one semester has increased from about 30% to over 50% and HKUST has the highest % of international undergraduates of all universities in HK (about 10%). We have built significant physical infrastructures in Mainland China, primarily in the Pearl River Delta. I led the development and fund raising to build several new major infrastructure projects for the university to achieve its academic and research mission, including three major academic buildings, a Conference Lodge with a very popular restaurant, a 500-bed graduate residence hall, a water sports center, an innovation building and a 1000-seat multi-purpose auditorium. The number of endowed professorships has increased from 8 in 2009 to 36 in 2017. I led the development of two 5-year Strategic Plans, as well as our first ever set of five Core Values (consensus favorites are “Can do” and “1-HKUST”). I led the further development of our Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), recruited 2 Directors and several prominent IAS professors, and brought the siting of Gordon Research Conferences to HKUST. I brought the International Secretariat of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) to HKUST. I actively advocate the development of Innovation & Technology in HK and since 2014 I have been writing on higher education and innovation & technology in a weekly magazine column.
  • Assistant Director, Directorate for Math & Physical Sciences, US National Science Foundation, Oct 2006 – Aug 2009. I reported directly to the NSF Director and was responsible for policy, budget proposal & allocation, interacting with the White House, Congress and the scientific community. MPS has been NSF’s largest Directorate, with annual budget over US$1B and 5 Divisions: Astronomy, Chemistry, Materials, Math Sci, and Physics. I maintained a healthy budget for MPS, promoted joint funding programs with other NSF Directorates and enabled several key initiatives within the Divisions (including funding Advance LIGO, and signing an agreement with Europe’s VIRGO, which ultimately led to the first observation of gravitational waves; the construction of the radio telescope ALMA in Chile, joint with EU and Japan; initiating “The Mathematical Science in 2025” review (first in the field).) I represented NSF in national and international scientific collaborations and events.
  • Dean, Div. of Physical Sciences, UCLA, July 2001 – Sept 2006. I oversaw 6 departments: Atmospheric Science, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Math, Physics, Statistics; plus the Institute for Geophysics & Planetary Physics, with over 200 faculty members, 700 graduate students, 700 undergraduate majors and $70M annual federal research support. I helped to recruit and retain many faculty members (including Fields Medalist Terry Tao) and developed a Strategic Plan for the Division, which has been successfully implemented.
  • Director, Institute for Pure and Applied Math (IPAM), UCLA, Aug 2000 - Aug 2001. I introduced new programs, persuaded leading scientists to participate in them, and promoted the Institute at UCLA and nationally. I introduced the successful Research in Industry Program for Students, which has since been “exported” to Europe and Asia. I secured commitment and support from the UCLA Administration for IPAM.
  • Chair, Dept. of Math., UCLA, July 1997 - July 2000. I was one of 5 PIs and led the effort to successfully compete for a national NSF-funded math institute (IPAM), which is thriving today. I led the departmental effort in competing successfully to host the AMS Millennium Conference at UCLA (100 years after Paris). I helped recruited many prominent and promising faculty members, including Terry Tao. The department’s US ranking has risen to #7 in 2017 (by US News).
  • Graduate Vice Chair, Dept. of Math, UCLA, July 1996 - June 1997.
  • Professor, Dept. of Math., UCLA, July 1986 – Aug 2009. Professor Above-Scale.
  • Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Comp. Sci., Yale Univ. July 1983 - June, 1986.
  • Assistant Prof, Dept. of Comp.Sci., Yale Univ., July 1979 - June 1983.
  • Research Fellow, Applied Math. Dept., Caltech. Jan l978 - July 1979.

Honors & Awards:

  • Elected Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2016.
  • Founding Member & Board of Directors, Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, 2015-present.
  • Fellow, Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences (HKAES), 2015-present.
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Russia), 2015-present.
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom, November 2015.
  • Elected Member, US National Academy of Engineering, 2014.
  • Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2014.
  • Elected Fellow, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2010.
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2011.
  • Fellow and President of Executive Board, Hong Kong Institution of Science (HKIS), 2011-present.
  • Member, United States Committee of 100. Chinese American organization to promote better US-China relations. 2009-present.
  • Southern California Chinese American Faculty Association Achievement Award, 2007.
  • Best Paper Award, International Symposium on Physical Design, April 2005, San Francisco.
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE Signal Processing Society, 2003.
  • Distinguished Visitor, United College, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, 2002.
  • Faculty/Staff Partnership Award, 3rd Annual Staff Assembly, UCLA, 2000.

Professional Experience:

  • Chair, Nevanlinna Prize Committee for the International Congress of Mathematicians 2018 (ICM 2018) (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
  • Member, Committee on Innovation, Technology and Re-industralisation of the HK Government, 2017-present.
  • Member, International Advisory Council, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, 2017-present.
  • Member, Advisory Council, RIKEN, Japan, 2016-present.
  • Member, International Advisory Board of Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2015-present.
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Innovation and Technology, HK Government, 2015-2017.
  • Member, President’s Scientific Advisory Board, University of Vienna, 2014-present.
  • Member, External Prize Committee, Society for Industrial & Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2014.
  • Member, Global University Leaders Forum, World Economic Forum, 2013-present.
  • Member, Technology Pioneers Selection Committee, World Economic Forum, 2014-present.
  • Member, Selection Committee for the Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences, 2011-2013.
  • Member, Board of Trustees, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, 2011-present.
  • Member, President’s Advisory Council, Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), 2011-present.
  • Representative of HKUST, Association of University Presidents of China, 2009-present.
  • Representative of HKUST, Association of East Asian Research Universities (AEARU), 2009-present. Chair, AEARU, 2010-2011.
  • Representative of HKUST, Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), 2009-present. Member of Steering Committee, 2015-present.
  • Representative of HKUST, Heads of Universities Committee (HUCOM), Hong Kong, 2009-present.
  • Board of Trustees, Institute For Pure & Applied Math, UCLA, 2009-present.
  • Editor in Chief (with F. Bresis and M. Griebel), Numer. Math., 2002 - present.

    (selected membership/ chairmanship in the past)

  • Member, Steering Committee, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, 2013.
  • Chairman, Pilot Green Transport Fund Steering Committee, The Government of HKSAR, 2011-2013.
  • Member, Steering Committee on Innovation & Technology, Innovation and Technology Commission, The Government of HKSAR, 2010-2014.
  • Member, John von Neumann Medal Committee, Institute For Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2010-2013.
  • Member, Innovation & Technology Advisory Committee, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, 2009 – 2013.
  • Member, Inst. For Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2010-2013.
  • AAAS Section A (Math) Steering Committee, 2008–2012.
  • US National Committee On Math (NAS/NRC), 2005-2007. One of 5 US Delegates to Int’l Mathematicians Union Congress, Spain, 2006.
  • Co-author of proposal to establish SIAM Journal on Imaging Sci, 2007. Editorial Board 2007-2012.
  • Science Advisory Board, Hausdorff Math Center, Bonn, Germany 2006-2007.
  • Member, Von Neumann Lecturer Selection Committee (1 of 5), SIAM, 2006.
  • Chair of Jury, Hang Lung Math Award (for high school students), HK, 2006.
  • Main organizer: UCLA Alumni Event hosted at Pixar HQ, Emeryville, CA. 2005.
  • External Advisory Board, Toyota Technological Institute, Chicago, 2004-06.
  • Chair, UCLA Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences 5 year Admin Review Committee, 2003-04.
  • SIAM: Council 1992-94, Board of Trustees 2003-2006.
  • Invited essayist. 1 of 2 in math, The Carnegie Foundation Initiative on the Doctoral Program, 2002. (The other essayist: Hyman Bass)
  • External Advisory Committee (3 times, most recent April 2002), Lawrence Livermore Nat’l Lab.
  • Editorial boards: Asian J. Math, SIAM J. Image Sci., AIMS J. Inv. Probs. & Imaging. Plus 9 others journals during 1987-2005.
  • Univ. Calif. Management Institute (leadership training), Berkeley, 2002.
  • Member of NSF Math & Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, 1999-2002.
  • American Mathematical Society: Editorial Boards Comm., 2000-2003, Comm. on Committees, 1999-2002.
  • Member, SIAM Committees: Science Policy 2000-05. Human Rights 1993-95.
  • Co-chair (with Richard Tapia), SIAM National Meeting, Puerto Rico, July 2000.
  • Chair, Local Organizing Committee, AMS Symposium on Mathematical Challenges of the 21st Century, UCLA, August 2000.
  • Member of Committee, Householder Symposium on Linear Algebra, 1993-2006.
  • Scientific Committee, Series of Int’l Conf. on Domain Decomposition, 1988-2001.
  • (Co-)Organized numerous international conferences and panels.
  • Participated in numerous reviews and advisory committees, globally.

Research Record:

  • 2nd most highly cited publication in 2016 in Computational Mathematics (Google Scholar).
  • H-index 90. Citations for top 5 papers: 9441, 4422, 2532, 2272, 1338 (Google Scholar, Sep 2017).
  • One of the world’s highly cited mathematicians from 2003-2014.
  • H-index 86. Over 641 publications. Citations for top 5 papers: 8685, 4177, 2330, 2034, 1224 (Data from Google Scholar, Jan 2017).
  • Best paper awards: IEEE Signal Processing Society 2004; Int’l Symposium on Physical Design 2005.
  • Fully supported by competitive federal grants throughout career without interruption: summer salaries, graduate student and postdoc support. NSF, NIH, DOE, AFOSR, ARO, ONR, DARPA, NASA.
  • Supervised 36 PhDs, 25 postdocs.
  • Co-Director (with Art Toga, UCLA Neurology Dept), Center for Computational Biology, UCLA. One of first 4 NIH Roadmap National Centers, 2004-2009.

Former Ph.D. Students: Thomas Kerkhoven, Diana Resasco, Ray Tuminaro, Charles Tong, Wai-Kin Tsui, June Donato, Jennifer Chang, Jian-Ping Shao, Tedd Szeto, David Strong, Ilya Sharapov, Manchung Yeung, Susie Go, Justin Wan, Peter Blomgren, Chiu-Kwong Wong, Haomin Zhou, Jamylle Carter, Berta Sandberg, Sung-Ha Kang, David Huckaby, Bing Song, Wei Zhu, Mark Moelich, Andy Yip, Fred Park, Kenton Sze, Ronald Lui, Kangyu Ni, Tim Lee, Mingqiang Zhu, Ernie Esser, Ethan Miller, Alvin Wong, Eric Radke, Matthew Keegan.

Former Postdoctoral Scholars: Per Christian Hansen, Tarek Mathew, Beth Ong, Barry Smith, Patrick Ciarlet, Zou Jun, Francoise Lamour, Pep Mulet, Victor Eijkhout, Ludmil Zikatanov, Pep Mulet, Luminita Vese, Joe Shinnerl, Jackie J.H. Shen, Elias Jonsson, Petr Vanek, Francois Malgouyres, Jean Francois Aujol, Selim Esedoglu, Sheshadri Thiruvenkadam, Yalin Wang, Jerome Darbon, Xavier Bresson, Xiaojun Zhang, Kit-Ming Yeung, Ke Wei.

Major Invited Plenary/ Named Lecture:

  • Plenary speaker, National SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Math) 60th Anniversary Conference, July 2012, Minneapolis.
  • Plenary panelist, European University Association Annual Meeting, Warwick, UK, March 23, 2012. Over 400 European university presidents present.
  • Michalik Distinguished Lectures, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2009.
  • Ostrom Lecturer, Washington State Univ., Pullman, 2009.
  • Rees Distinguished Lecturer, Univ. of Delaware, 2006.
  • Plenary speaker: Asian Math Conf., Singapore, July 2005.
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2005.
  • Plenary speaker: Joint Math Meeting, San Diego, CA, Jan 2002.
  • Plenary speaker: Int’l Conf. of Chinese Mathematicians, Taipei, Dec 2001.
  • Plenary speaker: SIAM National Meeting, San Diego, 1989.

Other Invited Plenary Lectures & Presentations:

  • 6th International Conference on World-Class Universities, invited speaker, Shanghai, November 2015.
  • University of Waterloo Distinguished Lecture Series 2015-2016, invited speaker, Waterloo, Canada, October 2015.
  • NSF Distinguished Lecture in Mathematical and Physical Sciences, invited speaker, Washington, DC, October 2015.
  • The Xth Glion Colloquium, presenting a paper for discussion, Glion above Montreux, Switzerland, June 2015.
  • “Merging Virtual and Physical Worlds with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology”, introduction speaker, Ideaslab, World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, January 2015.
  • The 5th International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education, keynote & plenary speaker, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 2014.
  • THE World Academic Summit 2013 (THE WAS 2013), plenary speaker, Singapore, October 2013.
  • Conference on Higher Learning, invited speaker, Harvard Center Shanghai, May 2013.
  • “The 21st Century University: Transformation and resilience in a knowledge economy”, keynote speaker, Murdoch University, Australia, March 2013.
  • Boao Forum, invited panelist, April 2013, April 2011, Hainan, China.
  • Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum, Invited panelist, China, Feb 2013.
  • World Economic Forum, invited panelist, Davos, Jan 2013; Tianjin, Sept 2012.
  • Panelist (1 of 6), Workshop on international innovation in higher education, Sydney, Australia, August, 2012.
  • Newton Institute, Cambridge, UK, 2011, 2003.
  • Int’l Conf on Image Processing (ICIP), Hong Kong, 2010. One of 3 plenaries.
  • 3rd US-China Computer Science Summit, Beijing, 2010.
  • Microsoft “Computing in the 21st Century” Symposium, Nanjing, 2007.
  • Australian Math Society Annual Meeting, Melbourne, 2007.
  • Dept Of Energy SciDAC Conf., Boston, 2007.
  • Matematica e Cultura, Venezia, 2007.
  • Dutch & Flemish Numerical Analysis Annual Conf., Wouchoten, 2005.
  • 4th European Congress on Computational Methods in Applied Sci & Engr, Jyvaskyla, Finland, 2004.
  • Applied Inverse Problems, Montecatini Terme, Italy, 2001.
  • European Multigrid, Gent, 1999.
  • Dundee Conf. on Numerical Analysis, UK, 1999.
  • GAMM Conf. on Multigrid, Bonn, Germany, 1998.
  • Von Karman Institute, Brussels, Belgium, March 1997.
  • SIAM Conf. on Sparse Matrices, Cour d’Alene, Oct. 1996.
  • Dutch Summer School on Numerical Analysis, Zeist, 1995.
  • 6th SIAM Conf on Parallel Processing, 1993.
  • Ecole d’ete, Analyse Numerique, Le Breau, France, 1991.

Consulting Activities:

  • “Numb3rs”, NBC prime time TV pilot, 2004. Main math consultant.
  • TechFinity, Los Angeles 2004-2006.
  • Chevron Research, La Habra, Los Angeles, 1998-99.
  • Intel, 1998-99.
  • MathSoft, Seattle, 1997-99.
  • Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, 1996-98.
  • ICASE, NASA Langley, 1995-97.
  • RIACS, NASA Ames, 1986-98.
  • SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, 1986-92.

Sep 2017

Tony F Chan