Alumnus Tianyi Chen Receives IEEE SPS Best Dissertation Award

Alumnus Tianyi Chen is the inaugural recipient of IEEE Signal Processing Society’s (SPS) Best Dissertation Award. Chen, now a faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), earned his doctoral degree in 2019 under the supervision of Professor Georgios B. Giannakis. His dissertation is titled “Efficient Methods for Distributed Machine Learning and Resource Management in the Internet-of-Things.”

Chen’s dissertation addresses the challenges emerging from training machine learning models over the wireless network by focusing on a unified algorithmic framework for distributed machine learning and resource management. The framework encompasses a set of new computational methods that make quantifiably better use of limited resources (such as communication, memory, and energy), and require minimal modeling assumptions compared to existing methods. The new distributed machine learning algorithms demonstrate significant improvement in resource efficiency, and the new model-free resource management schemes achieve performance competitive to existing model-based methods.

An assistant professor with the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Department at RPI, Chen’s current research focuses on signal processing, machine learning, and optimization, and their applications to wireless networks. As a student at the University of Minnesota, he was also a recipient of the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

The IEEE SPS Best Dissertation Award “recognizes PhD relevant work in signal processing while stimulating further research in the field.” The criteria for evaluation are scientific impact of the research (evidenced by factors such as citations, journal papers published from the dissertation, awards, patents, adoption into practice, and others), and overall quality of the dissertation as seen in factors such as the quality and rigor of scientific method, and significance and timeliness of the research.