The Department of Electronic Engineering (EE) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been founded for more than forty years, nurturing countless outstanding engineers and technology professionals. The department is famous for its research strength and achievements and has always been a leader in a number of research areas around the world. Our founder, Professor Charles Kao, the former Vice-Chancellor of CUHK also known as the Father of Fiber Optics, was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, making Chinese people around the world proud.
The Department of Electronic Engineering was founded in 1970 by Professor Charles Kao, who also served as the first chairman of the department, laying a solid foundation for the future development of the department. In retrospect, as the Electronic Engineering Department is the oldest department in the Engineering Faculty, the development of the department is closely related to the development of the Engineering Faculty. In 1991, while Prof. Kao was the Vice-Chancellor, he proposed to unite the then four independent departments to form the Engineering Faculty, consolidating the advantages in each department and further enhance the level and quality of teaching and academic research.
Nurturing student talents is one of the most important missions of the Department of Electronic Engineering. In the seventies, the manufacturing industry in Hong Kong was booming, bringing a high demand for electronic engineers. Then, the department focused on undergraduate education focusing on both theory and practice. By the eighties, the Department of Electronic Engineering began the development of a post-graduate program, offering MPhil and PhD programs, training of high quality engineers to promote the research and development of the local electronic industry. The first CUHK student to receive a doctoral degree was from the Department of Electronic Engineering.
Our curriculum design is forward-looking. As early as 1975, the Department has pioneered the “work-study program”, arranging third-year students to intern in different industrial organizations for a year in order to obtain practical engineering experience. After the internship, the students return to school to complete the remaining 1-year coursework. This special curriculum not only provides the students with opportunities to practice what they have learned in classes but also helps them to be more employable after graduation. Today, internships have become very popular; many universities in Hong Kong have established similar undergraduate internship programs. The Department of Electronic Engineering is leading the trend in this regard. The internship programs help academics to develop close links and collaborations with industries.
High quality teaching and courses produce elite graduates; in the past forty years after the founding of the Department of Electronic Engineering, we have cultivated countless outstanding and talented graduates across different disciplines, each with its great achievements. The Department of Electronic Engineering provides solid training in mathematics and physics, which enhance students’ analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, and these skills are generally applicable to all professions. Accordingly, even if our graduates choose a career in different industries, they can still excel. In fact, our graduates have been doing well in many major companies as well as different government departments, serving the community. Their excellent work has been recognized by all industry and government employers.
For scientific research, the Department of Electronic Engineering has always been an international leader in the field of optoelectronics. The excellence was built upon the solid foundation achieved by Professor Charles Kao. In addition, the Department has obtained many significant research results in the field of multimedia and signal processing, integrated circuit design, wireless communications, and microwave engineering. As early as in the 1970s, the Department started to develop research areas in biomedical engineering, identifying and applying the new electronic technologies to novel medical instruments. After years of efforts, we have accumulated considerable outstanding results.
Biomedical Engineering is one of the key research areas in the future. Apart from scientific research, the Department is also committed to nurturing and training high quality biomedical engineers. The Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Program co-hosted by the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine was first proposed and developed by the Department of Electronic Engineering. The program includes four major areas: (1) medical equipment and apparatus, (2) medical image processing technology, (3) information technology for healthcare, and (4) medical sensor technology.
Forty years mark an important milestone for the Department of Electronic Engineering. We have always believed high quality teaching and high quality research are equally important and have been actively nurturing talents for our society while promoting research in the field of electronic engineering. We look to extend our research achievements and results to industries and make greater contributions and impact to the society.