UCLA Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Awarded James Clerk Maxwell Medal

M.C. Frank Chang

UCLA Samueli

Dec 5, 2022

UCLA Samueli Newsroom

M.C. Frank Chang, a distinguished professor and the Wintek Chair in Electrical Engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has been awarded the 2023 James Clerk Maxwell Medal by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (IEEE/RSE). 

The international award, which was announced last week, recognizes Chang’s “contributions to heterojunction device technology and CMOS [complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor] System-on-Chip realizations with unprecedented reconfigurability and bandwidth.”

Since joining UCLA in 1997, Chang has led the High Speed Electronics Laboratory with research focused on high-speed semiconductor devices and integrated circuits for digital, analog, microwave, millimeter-wave and terahertz system-on-chip applications. He has pioneered new methodologies to design reliable heterojunction devices, including digital-controlled artificial dielectric transmissions for reconfigurable software-defined, multi-band/mode radios and radars for extended operation bands and resolutions. Chang’s work has also had a major impact on mobile phones, with the majority of smartphones using the heterojunction bipolar transistor technology he developed to meet the required power and efficiency specifications. 

Earlier this year, Chang was selected as a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in the category of technical and environmental sciences. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Academia Sinica and the National Academy of Inventors. In 2017, the Institution of Engineering and Technology presented Chang with the J.J. Thomson Medal for Electronics.

Chang served as chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department from 2010 to 2015 before taking a leave to head the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan as president from 2015 to 2019. Prior to joining UCLA, he worked at the Rockwell International Science Center as the assistant director and department manager of the High Speed Electronics Laboratory. It was at Rockwell where he pioneered the class of heterojunction bipolar transistors and field effect transistors for smartphone front-end module implementations.

In addition to the James Clerk Maxwell Medal, the 2023 IEEE recognition also included the Donald O. Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits that went to Ingrid Verbauwhede, an adjunct professor in electrical and computer engineering at UCLA Samueli. Verbauwhede was selected for her “pioneering contributions to energy-efficient and high-performance secure integrated circuits and systems.” She is currently a professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. 

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