Dr. Wing-Kin (Ken) Ma


Department of Electronic Engineering

The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Office: Room 323, Ho Sin Hang Engineering Building

Tel.: +852 3943 4350    Fax: +852 2603 5558

E-mail: wkma AT ee.cuhk.edu.hk



Wing-Kin Ma obtained his B.Eng. degree in electrical and electronic engineering (with first class honours)  from the University of Portsmouth, U.K., in 1995. He received his M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees, both in electronic engineering, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Hong Kong, in 1997 and 2001, respectively. He received British Telecom Research and Technology Prize at the University of Portsmouth in 1995. His Ph.D. thesis was commended to be "of very high quality and well deserved honorary mentioning" by the Faculty of Engineering, CUHK in 2001.

Dr. Ma is currently a Professor with the Department of Electronic Engineering, CUHK. He was with the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Institute of Communications Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, as an Assistant Professor from Aug. 2005 to Aug. 2007. Prior to becoming a faculty, he held various research positions at McMaster University, Canada, CUHK, Hong Kong, and the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Ma is well recognized for his contributions to optimization in signal processing and communications, which led him to the escalation of the IEEE Fellow grade in 2017. Most recently, he also extended his research interest to the applications of optimization to areas such as remote sensing, data analytics and machine learning. His recent research activities can be categorized into two broad topics, namely,

i) MIMO transceiver designs and optimization in wireless communications, with our latest focuses being on coarsely quantized massive MIMO, symbol-level precoding, and model-inspired deep MIMO detection, and

ii) statistical and optimization aspects of structured matrix factorizations (such as non-negative matrix factorization), with applications to hyperspectral remote sensing, blind source separation, data science and machine learning.

Dr. Ma is active in the Signal Processing Society. He has rich experience in editorial service: Associate Editor, and then later, Senior Area Editor, and then later, Editor-in-Chief, of IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing (2007-2011, 2016-2018, 2021-2023, respectively); a Guest Editor of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Special Issue on "Convex Optimization for Signal Processing"  in 2010; a Guest Editor of IEEE Journal on Selected Areas of Communications on the special issue of "Signal Processing Techniques for Wireless Physical Layer Security" in 2013; the Lead Guest Editor of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine  Special Issue on "Signal and Image Processing in Hyperspectral Remote Sensing" in 2014;  an Associate Editor of IEEE Signal Processing Letters (2009-2012); and an Associate Editor of Signal Processing (2013-2018). He was a Technical Committee Member of the Signal Processing Theory and Methods (SPTM) Technical Committee, IEEE Signal Processing Society (2012-2017), and Signal Processing for Communications and Networking (SPCOM) Technical Committee, IEEE Signal Processing Society (2015 - 2020). He served Technical Program Committees of many conferences. He was a Technical Program Co-Chair of SPAWC 2017, a Special Session Co-Chair of SSP 2018, and a Technical Program Co-Chair of ICASSP 2023. He was the IEEE SPS Regional Director-at-Large for Region 10 (2020-2021).

Dr. Ma received a 2009 Exemplary Teaching Award given by the Faculty of Engineering, CUHK,  the Research Excellence Award 2013-2014 by CUHK (only one awardee in each faculty), the 2015 IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award, and the 2016 IEEE Signal Processing Letters Best Paper Award, and the 2018 IEEE Signal Processing Best Paper Award. He is a co-receipent of a WHISPERS 2011 Best Paper Award. His students received ICASSP Best Student Paper Awards in 2011 and 2014, and one student was a finalist of the ICASSP 2017 Best Student Paper Contest. He has a paper that was named by Google Scholar as a Classic Paper; see here and here.

In addition to pushing the research frontier, Dr. Ma also wrote overview articles and gave tutorials on important technologies, with the goals of modernizing key concepts and making advanced techniques much more accessable to readers. An example is his tutorial paper on semidefinite relaxation in IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, which received the 2015 IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award and was cited for more than 3,000 times; see here. He was a tutorial speaker in EUSIPCO 2011,  STATOS 2013, and ICASSP 2014. He was a 2018-2019 IEEE Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer.

Research and Ongoing Projects

Check out Google Scholar for my publications. My in-house full publication list is no longer updated.

Here are some of the topics I am currently pursuing:

For these projects there are vacancies for postgraduate scholarships leading to M.Phil. or Ph.D. degree. For suitable Ph.D. holders, research positions might be considered. If you think you are highly motivated and have strong interest in signal processing and communications research, send me an email to discuss the opportunities.

And here is a sample of my favorite publications, done with good friends, colleagues and/or students (or student-turned friends).


  1. Z.-Q. Luo, W.-K. Ma, A. M.-C. So, Y. Ye, and S. Zhang, "Semidefinite relaxation of quadratic optimization problems," IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 20-34, May 2010 [PDF] [Tutorial Slides, ICASSP 2014] (2015 IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award).

  2. W.-K. Ma, J. M. Bioucas-Dias, T.-H. Chan, N. Gillis, P. Gader, A. Plaza, A. Ambikapathi and C.-Y. Chi, "A signal processing perspective on hyperspectral unmixing," IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 67-81, Jan 2014. [PDF] [Talk Slides, NTUA, 2023].

MIMO Detection

  1. W.-K. Ma, T.N. Davidson, K.M. Wong, Z.Q. Luo and P.C. Ching, "Quasi-maximum-likelihood multiuser detection using semi-definite relaxation with application to synchronous CDMA," IIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 912-922, Apr. 2002. [PS]

  2. W.-K. Ma, "Blind ML detection of orthogonal space-time block codes: Identifiability and code construction," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 55, no. 7, pp. 3312-3324, July 2007. [PDF] [Talk Slides]

  3. W.-K. Ma, C.-C. Su, J. Jaldén, T.-H. Chang, and C.-Y. Chi, "The equivalence of semidefinite relaxation MIMO detectors for higher-order QAM," IEEE Journal of Selected Topics of Signal Processing, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 1038-1052, Dec 2009. [PDF]

MIMO Transceiver Designs and Optimization

  1. X. Wu, W.-K. Ma, and A. M.-C. So, "Physical-layer multicasting by stochastic transmit beamforming and Alamouti space-time coding," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 61, no. 17, pp. 4230-4245, Sep 2013. [ArXiv] [Companion Technical Report] [Talk Slides, 2019]

  2. K.-Y. Wang, A. M.-C. So, T.-H. Chang, W.-K. Ma, and C.-Y. Chi, "Outage constrained robust transmit optimization for multiuser MISO downlinks: Tractable approximations by conic optimization," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 62, no. 21, pp. 5690-5705, Nov. 2014. [PDF] [Companion Technical Report] (2018 IEEE Signal Processing Best Paper Award).

  3. W.-K. Ma, J. Pan, A. M.-C. So, and T.-H. Chang, "Unraveling the rank-one solution mystery of robust MISO downlink transmit optimization: A verifiable sufficient condition via a new duality result," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 65, no. 7, pp. 1909-1924, Apr. 2017. [ArXiv] [Talk Slides, ICCOPT2016]

Blind Separation and Structured Matrix Factorization

  1. T.-H. Chan, W.-K. Ma, C-.Y. Chi, and Y. Wang, "A convex analysis framework for blind separation of non-negative sources," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 56, no. 10, pp. 5120-5134, Oct. 2008. [PDF] [Talk Slides]

  2. C.-H. Lin, W.-K. Ma, W.-C. Li, C.-Y. Chi, and A. Ambikapathi, "Identifiability of the simplex volume minimization criterion for blind hyperspectral unmixing: The no pure-pixel case," IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 53, no. 10, pp. 5530-5546, Oct. 2015. [ArXiv]

  3. R. Wu, W.-K. Ma, Y. Li, A. M.-C. So, and N. D. Sidiropoulos, "Probabilistic simplex component analysis," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 70, pp. 582-599, 2021. [ArXiv]

Target Tracking

  1. B.-N. Vo and W.-K. Ma, "The Gaussian mixture probability hypothesis density filter," IEEE Trans. Signal Process., vol. 54, no. 11, 4091-4104, Nov. 2006. [PDF] (Google Scholar Classic Paper; see here)


I should also mention the following names as research collaborators. I am thankful to have worked with these great researchers.

News & Updates 

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Last update: July 2023.