Robert T. Chien Memorial Award

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.


The recipient(s) will be recognized during an annual Student Awards Banquet. All student recipients are featured on the second floor of the ECE Building's Student Honors Wall.

Past Recipients of the Award

Year Recipients
2022-2023 Liming Wang
2021-2022 Moitreya Chatterjee, Weichao Mao
2020-2021 Nantao Li
2019-2020 Leda Sari, Chuchu Fan
2018-2019 Philip Pare
2017-2018 Yingyan (Celine) Lin
2016-2017 Yanjun Li
2015-2016 Fan Lam
2014-2015 Christopher Edwards
2013-2014 Farzad Hassanzadeh
2012-2013 Raghu Ambekar Rao
2011-2012 Nathan Jack
2010-2011 Yu Ru
2009-2010 Roberto Lavarello Montero
2008-2009 Shreyas Sundaram
2007-2008 Aleksandar Jovicic
2006-2007 Tansu Alpcan
2005-2006 Jonathan Mamou, Feng Xue
2004-2005 Anshul Sehgal
2003-2004 Ashutosh Garg
2002-2003 Raman Venkataramani
2001-2002 Ying Wu
2000-2001 Nebojsa Jojic
1999-2000 Dakshi Agrawal
1998-1999 Krishna Ratakonda
1997-1998 Catherine A. Frazier
1996-1997 Akbar M. Sayeed
1995-1996 Arun Krishnan, Caicheng Lu
1994-1995 Zigang Pan
1993-1994 Colin D. Frank, Yi-Min Wang
1992-1993 Carl W. Baum, Frederick A. Kish Jr.
1991-1992 Wei Ren
1990-1991 Jerome S. Hubacek
1989-1990 Andrew Yang
1988-1989 Doyeol Ahn
1987-1988 Ted K. Higman