Jin-Fa Lee receives 2012 Ohio State Distinguished Scholar Award

Posted: February 6, 2012

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Professor Jin-Fa Lee
Jin-Fa Lee, professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of the ElectroScience Laboratory, has received a 2012 Ohio State Distinguished Scholar Award. The award was presented on January 25, 2012 during a surprise visit by President E. Gordon Gee, Provost Joseph Alutto and other university administrators.

The Distinguished Scholar Award, established in 1978, recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors who have compiled a substantial body of research. It is presented to six faculty member annually. Recipients of the award receive a $20,000 research grant and a $3,000 honorarium to pursue their scholarly activity. An awards ceremony recognizing all of the recipients of the faculty awards will occur spring quarter.

Jin-Fa Lee is a leading authority in computational electromagnetics (CEM) worldwide. This is the research field that played a central role in the wireless revolution, including cell phones, wireless sensors and sensor networks. He is credited for developing the first ever commercial-level toolset, later marketed under the program name HFSS by the company ANSOFT (started by his advisor Prof. Cendes). For years, such codes, based on the finite element method, were not possible due to solution convergence difficulties, that is, the numerical solution was untrustworthy. Lee overcame this issue by introducing novel vector finite elements that avoided the spurious modes or nonphysical solutions, which plagued the solvers originally adapted from mechanical to electrical engineering applications. Notably, many attempts to overcome the convergence issues in finite element solvers were carried out in the 60s and 70s, but failed. Due to Lee’s contributions, the finite element code HFSS is now the most successful in the world, and the standard package used to design radio frequency circuits and communication/radar/radio devices.

According to one colleague, “When it comes to the field of computational electromagnetics, Prof. Jin-Fa Lee is, in my opinion, one of the top two to three leaders of his generation. However, when it comes to impact of his contributions, he is the indisputable leader.”

Lee has been instrumental in providing new concepts and algorithms that re-invented design tools for radio communications. He has published in the leading journal papers of his field and is one of the most cited scientists with some of his papers already considered classics. His students have received 13 best paper awards at international conferences thus far.

Lee is an IEEE Fellow, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an individual by the IEEE, and is a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) for 2011-2013. He is also an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. Lee is a Fellow of the Electromagnetics Academy, and received Ohio State College of Engineering Lumley Research Awards in 2011 and 2006.

Lee received his BS from National Taiwan University and his MS and PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. He began his career at Ohio State in 2000.