UC Berkeley Professor Yi Ma to Leave US for University of Hong Kong

On November 13, Yi Ma, a Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, announced that “Starting in Jan. 1, I will serve as the director of a new Institute of Data Science of Hong Kong University.” A few days ago, Chinese structural biologist Nieng Yan announced that she would return to China, triggering extensive discussion in the country. Ma, an ACM and IEEE Fellow, then expressed his support for Nieng Yan on social media. Now, Ma has also decided to return to China and start his new “five-year plan.”

Yi Ma is a well-known scholar in the field of computer vision. He has been engaged in the research of 3D computer vision, low-dimensional model of high-dimensional data, scalable optimization, machine learning and intelligent machines for many years. Specific research topics include large-scale 3D geometry reconstruction and interaction, and the relationship between low-dimensional models and deep networks. So far, he has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, and Google Academic shows that more than 65,000 of them have been cited. His research work has been widely used in natural image segmentation, robust face recognition, image alignment and correction, and other fields.

SEE ALSO: Structural Biologist Nieng Yan Comments on Return to China From US

Ma’s top research level in the field of computer vision has brought him many honors. He was elected IEEE Fellow in 2013, ACM Fellow in 2017 and SIAM Fellow in 2020. He has been ranked as one of the World’s Highly Cited Researchers since 2016 by Clarivate Analytics of Thomson Reuters. He has also been ranked as one of the Top 50 World’s Most Influential Authors in Computer Science by Semantic Scholar, reported by Science Magazine in April 2016.

In the past few years, Yi Ma has also engaged in a range of industrial activities. He is a co-founder of light-field 3D acquisition startup company DGene Digital Technology (previously known as Plex-VR), established in early 2016. He has served as senior advisor to the ByteDance Research Lab in Silicon Valley from 2017 to 2020. He has been on the Technical Advisorial Board (TAB) of Malong Technologies (a computer vision startup company in Shenzhen, China), since June 2018. He has also served as an independent director on the Board of Directors of Cheetah Mobile Inc. since March 2018.

The Institute of Data Science of Hong Kong University was established in January 2022 and received a donation of HK$150 million ($19 million) from The Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation. According to its official website, the institute aims to explore frontier research and application of data sciences, computing, mathematics and statistics by taking advantage of expertise across different disciplines. The goal of the institute is to establish a world-class institute in the field and to attract the best talent in the world. The advisory committee of the institute also includes famous researchers such as Harry Shum and Tang Xiaoou.

In the recent Distinguished Speaker Series of the Institute of Data Science, it can be seen that Yi Ma will give a speech entitled “On the Principles of Parsimony and Self-Consistency: Structured Compressive Closed-Loop Transcription” this month, focusing on his recent research work on the principle of simplicity and self-consistency of intelligence, in cooperation with Harry Shum and Doris Y. Tsao.”