News Release

UC San Diego electrical engineer honored for research and teaching contributions to information theory

Young-Han Kim receives inaugural James L. Massey Research and Teaching Award for Young Scholars from IEEE Information Theory Society

San Diego, CA, June 04, 2015 

University of California, San Diego electrical and computer engineering professor Young-Han Kim has been named the inaugural awardee of the James L. Massey Research and Teaching Award for Young Scholars by the IEEE Information Theory Society. The new award recognizes outstanding achievement in research and teaching by young scholars in the information theory community.

“Young-Han stands out as being at the top of his field in terms of both the research and teaching,” said Truong Nguyen, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

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Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Young-Han Kim

Though only nine years out of his Ph.D. program, Kim has made significant and long-lasting contributions to field of information theory. His research contributions have been both deep (bringing new techniques to solve previously elusive problems) and broad (spanning many aspects of information theory, communication, and signal processing). In addition, the pioneering textbook he co-authored has revolutionized the way information theory is taught throughout the world.

Kim started his research career with a Ph.D. thesis that tackled a decades-old open problem, the feedback capacity of the stationary Gaussian channel. He represented the capacity expression as a solution to a variational problem involving the noise’s spectral density, and used intricate concepts and techniques from convex optimization, functional analysis, and control and estimation theory, to solve the problem. For this work, Kim received the 2012 Information Theory paper award.

Kim has worked on many other problems as well, including channels with state, MIMO channels, error exponents, wiretap channels, noisy network coding, directed information, multiple-access channels, channels with fading and relay networks.

Kim is both a dedicated teacher and pioneering textbook author. In 2012 he co-wrote, with Abbas El Gamal from Stanford University, what has fast become an important information-theory textbook. The 700-plus-page volume “Network Information Theory” summarized, unified, explained and extended the state of knowledge about multi-user information theory.

This volume has filled a void in the vast field of network information theory, which was at times highly disjointed and confusing, explained Alon Orlitsky, Qualcomm Professor of Information Theory and its Applications in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego. Orlitsky also directs the Information Theory and Applications Center at UC San Diego.

El Gamal and Kim provided unified terminology, streamlined and often corrected proofs, identified key concepts, emphasized important contributions over lesser ones, and listed a comprehensive collection of interesting open problems.

Kim is a gifted, clear and effective teacher and mentor. At UC San Diego, he has developed three new advanced-topics classes: network information theory, universal “information” processing, and universal signal processing.

For his excellent teaching skills he was selected as a 2013 Information Theory Distinguished lecturer, and as an instructor for the 2014 Australian School of Information Theory and the 2015 European School of Information Theory.

Kim has received a variety of awards, including the 2008 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and the 2009 US-Israel bi-national Science Foundation Bergmann Memorial Award. In 2015, he became an IEEE Fellow.

Young-Han Kim joined the faculty of the UC San Diego Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2006 after earning his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University that same year. Earlier, after receiving a B.S. degree with honors in Electrical Engineering from Seoul National University in 1996, Kim spent three-and-half years as a software architect for the Seoul-based company Tong Yang Systems. He then worked on several industry projects —including development of the communication infrastructure for the new Incheon International Airport— before resuming graduate studies at Stanford.  

Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering

Liezel Labios
Jacobs School of Engineering