Mingyi Hong: Interacting with students and developing better ways of life

New IMSE professor brings interdisciplinary background and optimization research to ISU

Mingyi Hong
Mingyi Hong

“Joining the faculty of ISU,” answered Mingyi Hong about the best part of his career so far. Hong was recently hired as assistant professor in the IMSE department.

He decided to join Iowa State’s faculty because of the university’s strong engineering college and partnerships across departments. “Here I can interact and collaborate with experts in a lot of domains,” Hong says.

Beyond working on research projects, Hong looks forward to teaching as well. He will be instructing a course in optimization theory and a class about optimizing large-scale data in different ways.

“I particularly enjoy interacting with students during and after the lectures. Those interactions are key components of the learning process.” He also receives valuable feedback from students that he uses to adjust the speed of his lectures.

Hong adds that the academic environment allows him to work on several different projects across the wide spectrum of engineering all at once. That, coupled with his background in electrical and industrial engineering, gives him a unique perspective to make a significant impact.

For example, he can use his knowledge in electrical engineering and systems engineering/operations research to solve a wireless networking problem.

His cross-departmental perspective might also inspire his students to follow a similar path and additionally help build some new research partnerships for the IMSE department.

With research that aligns closely with the courses he will be teaching, Hong focuses on fundamental optimization problems, and their applications such as big data, wireless communications, and energy systems. He enjoys working with big data because, “It is truly an interdisciplinary area, and it can help shape our future.”

He adds that optimization is also an important subject, “Hardly any engineering domain can live without proper optimization tools. The main reason that I like those applications is that they are critical for the envisioned ‘smart’ way of living.”

Through his research, he plans to provide a better way of life for people, such as through improvements of the wireless communication infrastructure.

Before coming to Iowa State, Hong grew up in China, where he got his bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University in 2005. He traveled to New York’s Stony Brook University for his master’s degree, which he received in 2007. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2011. He became involved in research at the University of Minnesota, serving as a postdoc researcher, research associate and research assistant professor.