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Professor Hyunjoo Jenny Lee to Co-Chair IEEE MEMS 2025
Professor Hyunjoo Jenny Lee from the School of Electrical Engineering has been appointed General Chair of the 38th IEEE MEMS 2025 (International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems). Professor Lee, who is 40, is the conference’s youngest General Chair to date and will work jointly with Professor Sheng-Shian Li of Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University as co-chairs in 2025. IEEE MEMS is a top-tier international conference on microelectromechanical systems and it serves as a core academic showcase for MEMS research and technology in areas such as microsensors and actuators. With over 800 MEMS paper submissions each year, the conference only accepts and publishes about 250 of them after a rigorous review process recognized for its world-class prestige. Of all the submissions, fewer than 10% are chosen for oral presentations.
Professor June-Koo Rhee’s Team Wins the QHack Open Hackathon Science Challenge
The research team consisting of three master students Ju-Young Ryu, Jeung-rak Lee, and Eyel Elala in Professor June-Koo Rhee’s group from the KAIST IRTC of Quantum Computing for AI has won the first place at the QHack 2022 Open Hackathon Science Challenge. The QHack 2022 Open Hackathon is one of the world’s prestigious quantum software hackathon events held by US Xanadu, in which 250 people from 100 countries participate. Major sponsors such as IBM Quantum, AWS, CERN QTI, and Google Quantum AI proposed challenging problems, and a winning team is selected judged on team projects in each of the 13 challenges. The KAIST team supervised by Professor Rhee received the First Place prize on the Science Challenge which was organized by the CERN QTI of the European Communities. The team will be awarded an opportunity to tour CERN’s research lab in Europe for one week along with an online internship. The students on the team presented a method for “Leaning Based Error Mitigation for VQE,” in which they implemented an LBEM protocol to lower the error in quantum computing, and leveraged the protocol in the VQU algorithm which is used to calculate the ground state energy of a given molecule. Their research successfully demonstrated the ability to effectively mitigate the error in IBM Quantum hardware and the virtual error model. In conjunction, Professor June-Koo (Kevin) Rhee founded a quantum computing venture start-up, Qunova Computing(https://qunovacomputing.com), with technology tranfer from the KAIST ITRC of Quantum Computing for AI. Qunova Computing is one of the frontier of the quantum software industry in Korea.
KAIST Partners with Korea National Sport University
KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee signed an MOU with Korea National Sport University (KNSU) President Yong-Kyu Ahn for collaboration in education and research in the fields of sports science and technology on April 5 at the KAIST main campus. The agreement also extends to student and credit exchanges between the two universities. With this signing, KAIST plans to develop programs in which KAIST students can participate in the diverse sports classes and activities offered at KNSU. Officials from KNSU said that this collaboration with KAIST will provide a new opportunity to recognize the importance of sports science more extensively. They added that KNSU will continue to foster more competitive sports talents who understand the convergence between sports science and technology. The two universities also plan to conduct research on body mechanics optimizing athletes’ best performance, analyze how the muscles of different events’ athletes move, and will propose creative new solutions utilizing robot rehabilitation and AR technologies. It is expected that the research will extend to the physical performance betterment of the general public, especially for aged groups and the development of training solutions for musculoskeletal injury prevention as Korean society deals with its growing aging population. President Lee said, “I look forward to the synergic impact when KAIST works together with the nation’s top sports university. We will make every effort to spearhead the wellbeing of the general public in our aging society as well as for growth of sports.” President Ahn said, “The close collaboration between KAIST and KNSU will revitalize the sports community that has been staggering due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will contribute to the advancement of sports science in Korea.”
Professor Lik-Hang Lee Offers Metaverse Course for Hong Kong Productivity Council
Professor Lik-Hang Lee from the Department of Industrial System Engineering will offer a metaverse course in partnership with the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) from the Spring 2022 semester to Hong Kong-based professionals. “The Metaverse Course for Professionals” aims to nurture world-class talents of the metaverse in response to surging demand for virtual worlds and virtual-physical blended environments. The HKPC’s R&D scientists, consultants, software engineers, and related professionals will attend the course. They will receive a professional certificate on managing and developing metaverse skills upon the completion of this intensive course. The course will provide essential skills and knowledge about the parallel virtual universe and how to leverage digitalization and industrialization in the metaverse era. The course includes comprehensive modules, such as designing and implementing virtual-physical blended environments, metaverse technology and ecosystems, immersive smart cities, token economies, and intelligent industrialization in the metaverse era. Professor Lee believes in the decades to come that we will see rising numbers of virtual worlds in cyberspace known as the ‘Immersive Internet’ that will be characterized by high levels of immersiveness, user interactivity, and user-machine collaborations. “Consumers in virtual worlds will create novel content as well as personalized products and services, becoming as catalyst for ‘hyperpersonalization’ in the next industrial revolution,” he said. Professor Lee said he will continue offering world-class education related to the metaverse to students in KAIST and professionals from various industrial sectors, as his Augmented Reality and Media Lab will focus on a variety of metaverse topics such as metaverse campuses and industrial metaverses. The HKPC has worked to address innovative solutions for Hong Kong industries and enterprises since 1967, helping them achieve optimized resource utilization, effectiveness, and cost reduction as well as enhanced productivity and competitiveness in both local and international markets. The HKPC has advocated for facilitating Hong Kong’s reindustrialization powered by Industry 4.0 and e-commerce 4.0 with a strong emphasis on R&D, IoT, AI, digital manufacturing. The Augmented Reality and Media Lab led by Professor Lee will continue its close partnerships with HKPC and its other partners to help build the epicentre of the metaverse in the region. Furthermore, the lab will fully leverage its well-established research niches in user-centric, virtual-physical cyberspace (https://www.lhlee.com/projects-8 ) to serve upcoming projects related to industrial metaverses, which aligns with the departmental focus on smart factories and artificial intelligence.
Distinguished Professor Sukbok Chang Named the 2022 Ho-Am Laureate
Distinguished Professor Sukbok Chang from the Department of Chemistry was named the awardee of the Ho-Am Prize in the fields of chemistry and life sciences. The award has recognized the most distinguished scholars, individuals, and organizations in physics and mathematics, chemistry and life sciences, engineering, medicine, arts, and community service in honor of the late founder of Samsung Group Byong-Chul Lee, whose penname is Ho-Am. The awards ceremony will be held on May 31 and awardees will receive 300 million KRW in prize money. Professor Chang became the fourth KAIST Ho-Am laureate following Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee in engineering in 2014, Distinguished Professor Jun Ho Oh in engineering in 2016, and Distinguished Professor Gou Young Koh in medicine in 2018. Professor Chang is a renowned chemist who has made pioneering research in the area of transition metal catalysis for organic transformations. Professor Chang is also one of the Highly Cited Researchers who rank in the top 1% of citations by field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index. He has made the list seven years in a row from 2016. Professor Chang has developed a range of new and impactful C-H bond functionalization reactions. By using his approaches, value-added molecules can be readily produced from chemical feedstocks, representatively hydrocarbons and (hetero)arenes. His research team elucidated fundamental key mechanistic aspects in the course of the essential C-H bond activation process of unreactive starting materials. He was able to utilize the obtained mechanistic understanding for the subsequent catalyst design to develop more efficient and highly (stereo)selective catalytic reactions. Among the numerous contributions he made, the design of new mechanistic approaches toward metal nitrenoid transfers are of especially high impact to the chemical community. Indeed, a series of important transition metal catalyst systems were developed by Professor Chang to enable the direct and selective C-H amidation of unreactive organic compounds, thereby producing aminated compounds that have important applicability in synthetic, medicinal, and materials science. He has also pioneered in the area of asymmetric C-H amination chemistry by creatively devising various types of chiral transition metal catalyst systems, and his team proved for the first time that chiral lactam compounds can be obtained at an excellent level of stereoselectivity. Another significant contribution of Professor. Chang was the introduction of dioxazolones as a robust but highly reactive source of acyl nitrenoids for the catalytic C-H amidation reactions, and this reagent is now broadly utilized in synthetic chemistry worldwide. Professor Chang also leads a research group in the Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalizations at the Institute for Basic Science.
Baemin CEO Endows a Scholarship in Honor of the Late Professor Chwa
CEO Beom-Jun Kim of Woowa Brothers also known as ‘Baemin,’ a leading meal delivery app company, made a donation of 100 million KRW in honor of the late Professor Kyong-Yong Chwa from the School of Computing who passed away last year. The fund will be established for the “Kyong-Yong Chwa - Beom-Jun Kim Scholarship” to provide scholarships for four students over five years. Kim finished his BS in 1997 and MS in 1999 at the School of Computing and Professor Chwa was his advisor. The late Professor Chwa was a pioneering scholar who brought the concept of computer algorithms to Korea. After graduating from Seoul National University in electric engineering, Professor Chwa earned his PhD at Northwestern University and began teaching at KAIST in 1980. Professor Chwa served as the President of the Korean Institute of Information Scientists and Engineers and a fellow emeritus at the Korean Academy of Science and Technology. Professor Chwa encouraged younger students to participate in international computer programming contests. Under his wing, Team Korea, which was comprised of four high school students, including Kim, placed fourth in the International Olympiad Informatics (IOI). Kim, who participated in the contest as high school junior, won an individual gold medal in the fourth IOI competition in 1992. Since then, Korean students have actively participated in many competitions including the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery. Kim said, “I feel fortunate to have met so many good friends and distinguished professors. With them, I had opportunities to grow. I would like to provide such opportunities to my juniors at KAIST. Professor Chwa was a larger than life figure in the field of computer programming. He was always caring and supported us with a warm heart. I want this donation to help carry on his legacy for our students and for them to seek greater challenges and bigger dreams.”
KAA Recognizes 4 Distinguished Alumni of the Year
The KAIST Alumni Association (KAA) recognized four distinguished alumni of the year during a ceremony on February 25 in Seoul. The four Distinguished Alumni Awardees are Distinguished Professor Sukbok Chang from the KAIST Department of Chemistry, Hyunshil Ahn, head of the AI Economy Institute and an editorial writer at The Korea Economic Daily, CEO Hwan-ho Sung of PSTech, and President Hark Kyu Park of Samsung Electronics. Distinguished Professor Sukbok Chang who received his MS from the Department of Chemistry in 1985 has been a pioneer in the novel field of ‘carbon-hydrogen bond activation reactions’. He has significantly contributed to raising Korea’s international reputation in natural sciences and received the Kyungam Academic Award in 2013, the 14th Korea Science Award in 2015, the 1st Science and Technology Prize of Korea Toray in 2018, and the Best Scientist/Engineer Award Korea in 2019. Furthermore, he was named as a Highly Cited Researcher who ranked in the top 1% of citations by field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index for seven consecutive years from 2015 to 2021, demonstrating his leadership as a global scholar. Hyunshil Ahn, a graduate of the School of Business and Technology Management with an MS in 1985 and a PhD in 1987, was appointed as the first head of the AI Economy Institute when The Korea Economic Daily was the first Korean media outlet to establish an AI economy lab. He has contributed to creating new roles for the press and media in the 4th industrial revolution, and added to the popularization of AI technology through regulation reform and consulting on industrial policies. PSTech CEO Hwan-ho Sung is a graduate of the School of Electrical Engineering where he received an MS in 1988 and a PhD in EMBA in 2008. He has run the electronics company PSTech for over 20 years and successfully localized the production of power equipment, which previously depended on foreign technology. His development of the world’s first power equipment that can be applied to new industries including semiconductors and displays was recognized through this award. Samsung Electronics President Hark Kyu Park graduated from the School of Business and Technology Management with an MS in 1986. He not only enhanced Korea’s national competitiveness by expanding the semiconductor industry, but also established contract-based semiconductor departments at Korean universities including KAIST, Sungkyunkwan University, Yonsei University, and Postech, and semiconductor track courses at KAIST, Sogang University, Seoul National University, and Postech to nurture professional talents. He also led the national semiconductor coexistence system by leading private sector-government-academia collaborations to strengthen competence in semiconductors, and continues to make unconditional investments in strong small businesses. KAA President Chilhee Chung said, “Thanks to our alumni contributing at the highest levels of our society, the name of our alma mater shines brighter. As role models for our younger alumni, I hope greater honours will follow our awardees in the future.”
SM CEP Soo-Man Lee to Teach at the KAIST School of Computing
The Founder and Chief Executive Producer of SM Entertainment Soo-Man Lee was appointed as a distinguished visiting professor in the KAIST School of Computing. His three-year term starts on March 1. KAIST and the SM Entertainment signed an MOU on joint research on the metaverse last year and Lee’s appointment is the extension of their mutual collaborations in fields where technologies converge and will encourage innovative advancements in engineering technology and the entertainment industry. Lee, who completed a graduate program in computer science at California State University Northridge will give special leadership lectures for both undergraduate and graduate students, and will participate in metaverse-related research as a consultant. In particular, Professor Lee will participate in joint research with the tentatively named Metaverse Institute affiliated with the KAIST Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The institute will help SM Entertainment stay ahead of the global metaverse market by using the avatars of celebrities, and lend itself to raising the already strong brand power of the K-pop leader. Professor Lee said, “I am grateful that KAIST, the very cradle of Korea’s science and technology, has given me the opportunity to meet its students as a visiting professor. We will lead the metaverse world, in which Korea is emerging as a market leader, with the excellent contents and technology unique to our country, and work together to lead the future global entertainment market.” President Kwang-Hyung Lee said, “The ability to expand our limitless creativity in the metaverse is indispensable for us as we adapt to this new era. We hope that the vision and creative insights of Executive Producer Lee, which have allowed him to look ahead into the future of the entertainment contents market, will have a positive and fresh impact on the members of KAIST.” The global influence and reputation of Executive Producer Lee has been well established through his various awards. He was the first Korean to be listed on Variety500 for five consecutive years from 2017 to 2021. He was also the first Korean awardee of the Asia Game Changer Awards in 2016, the first cultural figure to receive the YoungSan Diplomacy Award in 2017, the only Korean to be listed on the 2020 Billboard Impact List, and he has also received the K-pop Contribution Award at the 10th Gaon Chart Music Awards. He recently introduced Play2Create (P2C), a new interactive and creative culture in which re-creation can be enjoyed like a game using IP, and is leading the establishment of the P2C ecosystem.
Commencement Ceremony Honors the Class of 2022
Third online commencement ceremony since the pandemic outbreak celebrates 2741 graduates The 2022 commencement ceremony convened online on February 18 to celebrate and award degrees to the Class of 2022. The graduating class of 2022 included 663 PhDs, 1,383 Masters, and 695 Bachelors. The limited number of attendees included 86 graduate representatives and approximately 20 faculty members in senior leadership, as well as Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT Hyesook Lim. The ceremony was livestreamed on KAIST’s YouTube channel. Valedictorian Ji-Young Lee from the Department of Physics received the Minister of Science and ICT’s Award. Yu-Jin Bang from the School of Business and Technology Management was the Awardee of the Chairman of the KAIST Board of Trustees and the KAIST Presidential Awardee was Jong-Hwan Lee from the Department of Mathematical Sciences. KAIST conferred honorary doctorates to Honorary Chairman Jae-Chul Kim of Dongwon Group and Chairman Sung-Hwan Chang of Samsung Brush. Chairman Kim, whose donation funded the establishment of the Kim Jae-Chul Graduate School of AI, was awarded an honorary doctorate of science technology. Chairman Chang was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration in recognition of his funding in the fields of medical science and engineering at KAIST. This year’s undergraduate commencement speaker was Hye-Lin Park from the School of Computing. She has severe cerebral palsy and was the first student admitted to KAIST with a severe physical handicap. “I loved mathematics and wanted to become a mathematician. When I learned programming in my second year, I was so mesmerized by it that I transferred to the School of Computing,” said Park, who plans to continue studying programming languages in graduate school at KAIST. “I spent my entire life of 24 years in this beautiful wheelchair. Without the support and help of my parents, friends, and my special teachers who helped me move and study at the campus, I would not have made it this far,” said Park. For easier access to classrooms and facilities, KAIST started to remodel its facilities to make the entrance of buildings more wheelchair-friendly. Park made many suggestions to the Office of Student Life and the Facilities Management Office on how to ease mobility for handicapped people on campus. The physical education course that was required for graduation was also revised to stipulate exceptions. Minister Lim stressed the role of young scientists and researchers in these times of digital transformation dominated by AI and the metaverse. She encouraged the graduates to carry out their dreams with warm hearts and challenging spirits. KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee also stressed the power of dreams, calling for graduates to dream big even in times of uncertainty. “Humanity stands at an inflection point in history. The fourth industrial revolution and outbreak of Covid-19 have unfolded the grand global transformation. Although the future gives us new opportunities, it also comes with anxiety regarding the uncertainties ahead.” “Dreams make your heart race and push us to live life to the fullest. Dreams will help you keep moving forward even in the face of adversity,” he said.
Five Projects Ranked in the Top 100 for National R&D Excellence
Five KAIST research projects were selected as the 2021 Top 100 for National R&D Excellence by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning. The five projects are:-The development of E. coli that proliferates with only formic acid and carbon dioxide by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering -An original reverse aging technology that restores an old human skin cell into a younger one by Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering-The development of next-generation high-efficiency perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells by Professor Byungha Shin from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering-Research on the effects of ultrafine dust in the atmosphere has on energy consumption by Professor Jiyong Eom from the School of Business and Technology Management-Research on a molecular trigger that controls the phase transformation of bio materials by Professor Myungchul Kim from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering Started in 2006, an Evaluation Committee composed of experts in industries, universities, and research institutes has made the preliminary selections of the most outstanding research projects based on their significance as a scientific and technological development and their socioeconomic effects. The finalists went through an open public evaluation. The final 100 studies are from six fields: 18 from mechanics & materials, 26 from biology & marine sciences, 19 from ICT & electronics, 10 from interdisciplinary research, and nine from natural science and infrastructure. The selected 100 studies will receive a certificate and an award plaque from the minister of MSIT as well as additional points for business and institutional evaluations according to appropriate regulations, and the selected researchers will be strongly recommended as candidates for national meritorious awards. In particular, to help the 100 selected research projects become more accessible for the general public, their main contents will be provided in a free e-book ‘The Top 100 for National R&D Excellence of 2021’ that will be available from online booksellers.
President Lee Presents Plans to Nurture Next-Generation Talents
President Lee stressed that nurturing medical scientists, semiconductor R&D personnel, startup entrepreneurs, and global innovators are key missions he will continue to pursue during a news conference KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee said that nurturing medical scientists, semiconductor R&D personnel, startup entrepreneurs, and global innovators are key missions he will continue to pursue during an online news conference marking the 1st anniversary of him becoming the president on February 15. He said that nurturing physician-scientists is the most critical mission for KAIST to help the nation create a new growth engine. He said KAIST will help the nation drive the bio-industry and provide medical science resources for the nation’s health sector. To this end, he said that KAIST will open its Medical Science and Technology School by 2026. “We plan to expand the current Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering into a new Medical Science and Technology School that will focus entirely on a condensed MD-PhD course converging the fields of AI, bio, and physics,” he said. The school aims to foster medical scientists whose research results will eventually be commercialized. He said that the university is now discussing revisions to related laws and regulations with the government and other universities. To supply human resources to the semiconductor industry, President Lee said the university will add a campus in Pyongtaek City that will serve as an advanced convergence research hub in the field of next generation semiconductors in collaboration with Samsung Electronics and the city of Pyongtaek. The three-stage opening plan projected the final opening of the campus by 2036. During the first stage, which will be completed by 2026, it will construct the campus infrastructure in Pyongtaek city where Samsung Semiconductors runs two massive semiconductor complexes. By 2031, it plans to launch the open research platform including a future cities research center and future vehicles research center. The campus will open the global industrial collaboration cluster hub by 2036. In the global arena, President Lee said he is working to open the New York campus with stakeholders in the United States. He announced the plan last December that was endorsed by New York-based entrepreneur Hee-Nam Bae, the chairman of Big Continent Inc. President Lee and Chairman Lee signed an MOU for the funding to open the campus in New York. “We are discussing how to facilitate the plan and best accommodate the interests and potential of our students. Many ideas and plans are on the table and we think it will take longer than expected to finalize the plan,” explained President Lee. However, he added that the basic idea is to offer art tech and health technology programs as well as an AI-based finance MBA at the New York campus, in addition to it serving as the startup accelerator of KAIST. President Lee stressed the importance of technology commercialization when successfully launching KAIST Holdings last month to help spinoffs of KAIST labs accelerate their end results. He said that KAIST Holdings will build a virtuous supporting system to commercialize the technology startups coming from KAIST. “We plan to list at least 10 KAIST startups on the KOSDAQ and two on the NASDAQ by 2031. KAIST Holdings also aims to nurture companies valued at a total of one billion KRW and earn 100 billion KRW in technology fees by 2031.
Thermal Superconductor Lab Becomes the 7th Cross-Generation Collaborative Lab
The Thermal Superconductor Lab led by Senior Professor Sung Jin Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering will team up with Junior Professor Youngsuk Nam to develop next-generation superconductors. The two professor team was selected as the 7th Cross-Generation Collaborative Lab last week and will sustain the academic legacy of Professor Kim’s three decades of research on superconductors. The team will continue to develop thin, next-generation superconductors that carry super thermal conductivity using phase transition control technology and thin film packaging. Thin-filmed, next-generation superconductors can be used in various high-temperature flexible electronic devices. The superconductors built inside of the semiconductor device packages will also be used for managing the low-powered but high-performance temperatures of semiconductor and electronic equipment. Professor Kim said, “I am very pleased that my research, know-how, and knowledge from over 30 years of work will continue through the Cross-Generation Collaborative Lab system with Professor Nam. We will spare no effort to advance superconductor technology and play a part in KAIST leading global technology fields.” Junior Professor Nam also stressed that the team is excited to continue its research on crucial technology for managing the temperatures of semiconductors and other electronic equipment. KAIST started this innovative research system in 2018, and in 2021 it established the steering committee to select new labs based on: originality, differentiation, and excellence; academic, social, economic impact; the urgency of cross-generation research; the senior professor’s academic excellence and international reputation; and the senior professor’s research vision. Selected labs receive 500 million KRW in research funding over five years.
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