Duke Kunshan’s Faculty Member Xin Li Elected IEEE Fellow

Duke Kunshan University’s professor of electrical and computer engineering Xin Li has recently been named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The award recognizes outstanding and unusual professional achievements of IEEE members, and less than 0.1% of voting members are selected annually for this member grade elevation.

Dr. Li, who is leading an effort in developing a new Institute of Applied Physical Sciences and Engineering (iAPSE) at Duke Kunshan University, is honored for his “contributions to modeling, analysis, and optimization of variability of integrated circuits and systems”. Previously a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Li has recently joined the faculty of Duke Kunshan University as well as the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University.

“I am extremely proud of being named as an IEEE Fellow, and meanwhile, joining Duke Kunshan University and leading iAPSE. It is a great honor to be recognized by my peers from the IEEE and achieve this prestigious accomplishment in my career,” said Dr. Li. “By working with my colleagues at Duke Kunshan, I am looking forward to great successes in the near future.”

Dr. Xin Li

In his research career, Dr. Li has invented numerous novel algorithms, tools and methodologies for data analytics that have been adopted and commercialized to produce products that have wide impacts on everyone on this planet, including smart phone, search engine, self-driving vehicle and virtual reality devices.

“Prof. Xin Li is an internationally renowned researcher in big data analytics for advanced manufacturing. Foxconn has been privileged to closely collaborate with him and his research group to jointly develop state-of-the-art data analysis techniques for building a smart factory and achieving Industry 4.0,” said Terry Gou, Founder and Chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, one of the most important nexus of the electronic equipment and new technologies global supply chain. “We are extremely excited to continue our collaboration with Prof. Li to achieve the ambitious goal of ‘Made in China 2025’.”

Dr. Li’s inventions are also making critical contributions in many interdisciplinary areas related to health informatics and smart community and affecting people’s everyday lives. Most recently, for example, Dr. Li’s interests lie in applying big data analysis in intelligent building information system, language environment for early childhood education, self-driving vehicles, etc.

“In an era of ever-narrower specialization, Prof. Li stands out as a generalist in the best sense of the term. He is able to see and exploit commonalities between seemingly unconnected areas in a way few others can,” noted Professor Jaijeet Roychowdhury from University of California, Berkeley. “His mathematical sophistication is top notch, and he has an enviable track record of translating practical problems into mathematical ones and solving them elegantly. Prof. Li's elevation to IEEE Fellowship has long been expected.”

Academically, a large body of his research focuses on data analytics for integrated circuit and semiconductor manufacturing where he led a number of impactful projects to model, analyze and optimize manufacturing variabilities. His work has been highly recognized by the community with six Best Paper Awards, including two IEEE Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Awards in 2013 and 2016 respectively, and has been extensively covered by the media.

Ken Butler, fellow emeritus at Analog Engineering Operations, Texas Instruments, identified Dr. Li’s contributions to integrated circuit and semiconductor manufacturing as “impactful”.  “His research has generated a lot of excitement in the semiconductor community and has been followed by a large number of research groups from both academia and industry,” he said.

“Professor Xin Li has conducted pioneering research in addressing the impacts of process and device variation on circuit design, a critical area facing today's technology scaling. His work has led to new breakthroughs to significantly improve the robustness of design for manufacturing,” commented Kevin Zhang, vice president of Design Technology Platform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

This remark is echoed by Tei-Wei Kuo, executive vice president for academics & research at National Taiwan University. He added, “The practicality of his contributions is also shown by his developed tools and methodologies being used by the industry or being incorporated into commercial tools.”

Dr. Xin Li officially joins the faculty of Duke Kunshan University and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University starting from January 1, 2017. At Duke Kunshan, he will lead multiple new education programs and research centers in applied physical sciences and engineering on campus while seeking to take advantage of China’s many unique resources and markets. While at Duke, he will look to forge collaborations through Duke’s many strengths in areas such as microchip architecture and testing, brain-machine interfaces, and self-driving cars.

Dr. Li said “iAPSE will serve as a bridge to closely connect Duke Kunshan and Duke and facilitate both universities to jointly pursue international education, interdisciplinary research, culture development and technology transfer; eventually it will bring the strength of Duke Kunshan and Duke to the global world. In the long term, iAPSE, along with other collaborators at Duke and Duke Kunshan, is expected to initiate, drive and lead the ‘Eastern Silicon Valley’ with high-tech industry in Kunshan and China at large.”

“By collaborating with the Municipality of Kunshan and Wuhan University, iAPSE will be carefully designed with global components and well positioned to meet the rapid and remarkable technology advancement in today’s global environment, including China, US and other neighboring countries.”

According to Dr. Li, a huge number of Chinese engineering students have a strong interest in pursuing an education abroad and studying leading-edge technology. On the other hand, due to the increased labor cost in large Chinese cities, many Chinese companies in the engineering field as well as foreign companies located in China, are actively seeking a transformative revolution to upgrade their labor-intensive production to high-tech business. Therefore, a close technical partnership with top research universities, such as Duke Kunshan, is necessary to facilitate technology development, transfer and commercialization.

Prior to joining Duke University and Duke Kunshan University, Dr. Li received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was an associate professor, and his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electronics Engineering from Fudan University.

About Duke Kunshan University

Duke Kunshan University is a Sino-American joint venture university founded by Duke University and Wuhan University in Kunshan, China. Duke Kunshan was granted final establishment approval in September 2013, and is governed by an independent board of trustees. The university offers master’s degree programs in environmental policy, medical physics, global health and management studies, and an undergraduate global learning semester program for students enrolled at other universities around the world.

About Duke University

Duke University enrolls nearly 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students and is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Its 10 graduate and professional schools are among the leaders in their fields, and the university’s health system combines clinical care, research and education. Duke also is active internationally through Duke Kunshan University in China, the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore and numerous research and education programs across the globe.

About IEEE

IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe. There are more than 420,000 IEEE members in over 160 countries. IEEE publishes a third of the world’s technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics and is a leading developer of international standards that underpin many of today's telecommunications, information technology, and power-generation products and services.