The ongoing cooperation between the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Tsinghua University’s School of Information Science and Technology rose a level during the recent visit of dean Yannis C. Yortsos and a large USC delegation to Beijing.
Yortsos and a group that included associate dean Raghu Raghavendra, professor Iraj Ershaghi and more than a dozen other USC Viterbi faculty and staff went to Tsinghua University’s campus for the third in a series of annual meetings that bring together faculty from the two institutions. The group included Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science professor S. Joe Qin, who has a visiting appointment at Tsinghua University.
This year’s workshop focused on Green and Smart information technology with a special focus on solving problems related to energy. It was organized from the Tsinghua side by vice dean Zhisheng Niu and executive vice dean Jun Li.
Yortsos gave the main keynote presentation, including an overview of specific work at the USC 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.
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 Tsinghua vice president Xu Chen and School of Information Science and Technology dean Jiaguang Sun signed an agreement establishing the center at the Beijing gathering.
Yortsos brought home another document from the meeting: Chen presented him with a letter from the Tsinghua president appointing him as a Tsinghua advisory board member.
In the workshop, Ershaghi, co-director of the Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies, the successful USC Viterbi School co-venture with Chevron Inc., was one of the keynote speakers.
He talked about CiSoft’s successful work using information technology 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.
Another continuing focus of the collaboration is student exchange, bringing top Tsinghua engineering undergraduate students to the USC Viterbi School after the completion of their junior year to participate in summer research internships with the USC Viterbi School faculty.
Feng Deng MS ’93, an alumnus of both Tsinghua and USC Viterbi, initiated the USC Viterbi/Tsinghua workshop series and continues to financially support it.
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 a recipient of the 2002 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Northern California.