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Three Faculty Members Awarded Academia Sinica Junior Research Investigators Award
Amongst the winners of the 2016 Academia Sinica Junior Research Investigators Award are three NTHU associate professors: Kuo-Hao Chang of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (mathematics and physical sciences division); Chen-Bin Huang of the Institute of Photonics Technologies and the Department of Electrical Engineering (mathematics and physical sciences division); and Kean-Fung Guan of the Department of Chinese Literature (humanities and Social Sciences division).
 
Kuo-Hao Chang: Global Excellent and Local Relevant Research in Stochastic Optimization
 
After completing his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Purdue University in 2008, Kuo-Hao Chang taught at the West Virginia University before returning to Taiwan to teach at NTHU, his alma mater.
 
Chang’s main research area is optimal decision-making in an uncertain environment (stochastic optimization), and is currently focusing on the development of effective stochastic optimization algorithms. His research, while theoretical, is motivated by real problems. So far he has finished over 20 industry projects that successfully applied the developed methods to benefit the industry in terms of the significant yield enhancement, production cost reduction and efficiency improvement etc.
 
Since returning to Taiwan he has published a series of articles about simulation optimization algorithms in prestigious journals. Amongst these, his co-authored article “Stochastic Trust-Region Response-Surface Method (STRONG)-A New Response Surface Framework for Simulation Optimization” was published in the prestigious international journal INFORMS Journal on Computing, and has been lauded as the most significant breakthrough in this field in the past fifty years.
 
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the fields of operations research and optimization at a young age, Chang was awarded the 2012 Bonder Scholar Research Award from INFORMS and K.D. Tocher Medal from The OR Society for which he is the only Taiwanese who has ever won these two awards. He is also a recipient of 2015 IIE Transactions Best Application Paper Award and IIE Transactions is one of the top journals in the fields of industrial engineering and operations research
 
In his acceptance speech Chang said that he is grateful for the support he has received from the Ministry of Science and Technology, NTHU, the Institute for Information Industry, and his colleagues and research assistants in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management. In addition, Chang also thanked his family and friends for all their unflagging support and encouragement.
 
Chen-Bin Huang: A rising star in plasmonics research
 
After completing his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University in 2008, Chen-Bin Huang returned to Taiwan and began teaching at the Institute of Photonics Technologies and the Department of Electrical Engineering at NTHU, his alma mater. His current research interests include plasmonics, ultrafast optics, nonlinear optics, and millimeter-wave photonics.
 
When training his graduate students, Huang emphasizes practicality and diligence, and gives equal weighting to theory and experimentation. He envisions significant contributions to the development of ultrafast plasmonics in the near future. His research papers have been published in leading scientific journals.
 
In his acceptance speech Huang extended a special word of thanks to his three main research assistants: Wei-Yi Tsai, Chen-Ta Ku, and Ching-Fu Chen, all M.S. students in the Institute of Photonics Technology. He also expressed gratitude for the encouragement provided by his research associates Jer-Shing Huang, Heh-Nan Lin, and Pei-Kuen Wei; the facilities provided by the Institute of Photonics Technologies and the Department of Electrical Engineering; and for the comradeship of all his colleagues at NTHU. Finally, Huang thanked his family for being like a bright and genial lamp on the bumpy and sometimes lonely road of scientific research.
 
Kean-Fung Guan: Exploring the landscape of late Qing Literature
 
After earning his Ph.D. in Chinese Literature at National Chengchi University, Kean-Fung Guan began teaching at NTHU’s Department of Chinese Literature.
 
Guan specializes in modern Chinese literature, especially late Qing novels, investigating such questions as: How did late Qing novelists use their writing as a way of reflecting on their own position within the turbulent society of 19th-century China? How did the Chinese literary tradition begin to engage in a dialogue with the new intellectual trends appearing on the scene during the late Qing? and What was the nature of the paradigm shift in literature brought about by these intellectual trends?
 
Guan has written numerous papers examining how a variety of new and old ideas are treated and developed in late Qing novels, including From the Body to the World: A Map of the New Concepts Found in Late Qing Novels. He is also the co-editor of the book Revolution, Awakening, and Expression: Research in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. His papers have been published in leading journals and have been well received by the academic community.
 
As an avid traveler, Guan believes that the reason why themes such as “utopia”, “the world”, “adventure”, and “Africa” appeared so frequently in late Qing novels might be due to the deep-rooted urge to travel and experience the outside world of the novelists. He further asserts that the fragmentary recollections of a journey are rather like the flash of a fish scales, the smell of a palm tree after the rain, a vague sense of nostalgia, or an evanescent vapor; they fleetingly and eternally glitter on the traveler’s life-map.
 
In Guan’s mind, receiving this award seems to confirm that there could be a happy coincidence between one’s personal hobby and research interest. Very interested in travelling, Guan teaches a course titled “Travel and Literature,” which brings together literature, research, and his own travel experience; this is one of the ways by which he encourages his students to pick up their backpacks and head off into the distant unknown.
 
In his acceptance speech Guan thanked NTHU for providing a research environment which emphasizes quality over quantity, where he has sufficient time to investigate topics which have previously received but scant attention. For Guan, in-depth research on fundamental issues in literature is always an exacting procedure that takes shape over an extended period of time, rather like a constructing a building.
 
The Academia Sinica Junior Research Investigator Award was established in 1996 by Academia Sinica to encourage junior domestic scholars to conduct in-depth scholarly research and make important contributions in their respective disciplines. The Award is divided into three divisions: mathematics and physical sciences, life sciences, and humanities and social sciences.
 
 
Associate Professor Chang Kuo-Hao of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management.

Associate Professor Chang Kuo-Hao of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management.

Associate Professor Huang Chen-bin of the Institute of Photonics Technologies and the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Associate Professor Huang Chen-bin of the Institute of Photonics Technologies and the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Associate Professor Guan Kean-fung of the Department of Chinese Literature.

Associate Professor Guan Kean-fung of the Department of Chinese Literature.

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