URI doctoral student in engineering receives award from Chinese government

Second URI graduate student to receive award

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Yufei Tang
Yufei Tang, a doctoral student in electrical engineering at the University of Rhode Island, receives the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad from China’s Consul General Qiyue Zhang.
Photo courtesy of Yang Zhang.

KINGSTON, R.I., May 12, 2016—Yufei Tang, a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, has been awarded the 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad.

Tang, who is expected to receive his doctorate in electrical engineering from URI this summer, is one of 500 Chinese students studying in 29 countries who won the prestigious award.

Tang received the award at a ceremony at the Chinese consulate in New York City on April 29. The award includes a $6,000 prize and a certificate from the China Scholarship Council, a nonprofit agency that provides financial support to Chinese students studying overseas.

His research at URI focuses on the design of intelligent control systems for the smart grid. With nature-inspired computational methods, he introduces intelligence and a learning ability to the electric power grid, turning it into a “thinking machine” that provides more efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly energy.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” said Tang. “It’s a recognition of the work I’ve done at URI over the last five years. The award will also inspire me to work harder in the future.”

Tang, 30, grew up in Huanggang, a city in Hubei Province in central China. At an early age, he cultivated an interest in science and mathematics. His parents were both teachers—his father taught physics, and his mother taught Chinese and music.

He earned his master’s degree in power systems at a Chinese university and joined URI in 2011 to work with Haibo He, the Robert Haas Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at URI, and He’s research group.

“I was very interested in their work on computational intelligence and how to apply these techniques to real problems,” said Tang. “Professor He’s lab was the perfect fit.”

Funding for Tang’s research comes from the National Science Foundation and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

“I’m very glad Yufei has won this award from the Chinese government,” said He. “Yufei is a talented and hard-working student.”

This is the second year in row that a URI graduate student in engineering has been honored. Zhen Ni, who graduated in 2015 with a doctorate in electrical engineering and was also He’s student, won last year. He is now an assistant professor in electrical engineering at South Dakota State University.

This fall, Tang hopes to find an academic position at an American university to continue his research and teach. “My years with Professor He helped prepare me for this new challenge,” Tang said. “I’m very grateful.”

Pictured above: Yufei Tang, a doctoral student in electrical engineering at the University of Rhode Island, receives the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad from China’s Consul General Qiyue Zhang. Photo courtesy of Yang Zhang.