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Established 1987

Robert T. Chien

Robert T. Chien was born in Kiangsu, China, on November 20, 1931. He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1954, a master's in mathematics in1957, and a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1958, all from UIUC.

From 1959 to 1965 he was a member of the research staff and group manager at the IBM Thomas B. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY. At IBM he received five patents, and in 1964 IBM gave him its first Invention Award for Outstanding Contributions.

He returned to Illinois in 1964 as associate professor of electrical engineering. Here, he continued his research and teaching in coding theory and information retrieval, and initiated new research programs in advanced automation, robotics and computer-based intelligence systems. He served as associate director of the Coordinated Sciences Laboratory (CSL) at Illinois from 1971 until 1973 when he was appointed director until his death on December 8, 1983. 


The Robert T. Chien Memorial Award was established to honor the memory of Robert T. Chien, a member of the electrical and computer engineering faculty for 20 years and the Director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory for 10 years. The award is to be made annually to a doctoral graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in research.


  1. The award recipient shall be enrolled in the College of Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  2. The award recipient shall be a doctoral degree candidate in electrical engineering who has successfully passed his or her qualifying examination
  3. The award recipient shall demonstrate excellence in research in the field of electrical engineering.


The online application forms will be advertised on My.ECE. A complete application should consist of the student’s resume, his/her list of publications, and 2 letters of recommendation (one from the research adviser).


All applications for the Award will be judged by the ECE Graduate Fellowship Committee based on the above criteria.

Past Recipients of the Award

Year Recipients
2019 Leda Sari, Chuchu Fan
2018 Philip Pare
2017 Yingyan (Celine) Lin
2016 Yanjun Li
2015 Fan Lam
2014 Christopher Edwards
2013 Farzad Hassanzadeh
2012 Raghu Ambekar Rao
2011 Nathan Jack
2010 Yu Ru
2009 Roberto Lavarello Montero
2008 Shreyas Sundaram
2007 Aleksandar Jovicic
2006 Tansu Alpcan
2005 Jonathan Mamou
Feng Xue
2004 Anshul Sehgal
2003 Ashutosh Garg
2002 Raman Venkataramani
2001 Ying Wu
2000 Nebojsa Jojic
1999 Dakshi Agrawal
1998 Krishna Ratakonda
1997 Catherine A. Frazier
1996 Akbar M. Sayeed
1995 Arun Krishnan
Caicheng Lu
1994 Zigang Pan
1993 Colin D. Frank
Yi-Min Wang
1992 Carl W. Baum
Frederick A. Kish Jr.
1991 Wei Ren
1990 Jerome S. Hubacek
1989 Andrew Yang
1988 Doyeol Ahn
1987 Ted K. Higman