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Chi wins $500,000 NSF CAREER Award

Modern technology created an influx of useful data, helping people in countless ways. However, the ability to continually manage that data the most efficiently remains an elusive goal.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) hopes to extend such research efforts through new funding issued to Yuejie Chi, of The Ohio State University's departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Biomedical Informatics. She recently earned $500,000 for her CAREER proposal, “Robust Methods for High-Dimensional Signal Processing under Geometric Constraints.”

Chi's work is important in the continued drive to balance the advancements in data processing with strategic data management.

The award comes via the NSF Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems Division, with funding distributed to Chi over the next five years.

As principal investigator on the research proposal, Chi explained that society is being impacted positively in many ways through a surge of data-driven reforms, whether through medical and biological imaging, social and wireless sensor networks, internet-of-things, recommendation systems or others. Her work seeks to manage that data more strategically for the greater good.

“Increasingly, the large volume of data is acquired in an unreliable and poorly-calibrated manner, making it difficult to translate into actionable knowledge for decision making using existing methodologies," Chi said.

Her NSF CAREER research proposal is motivated by the challenge of efficiently extracting information embedded in a large amount of data, such as the mathematics of data representation that take advantage of structures and geometry to minimize complexity and improve performance. Specific topics include mathematical and statistical signal processing, compressed sensing, machine learning, and information theory.

“The success of this project will have far-reaching impacts on many applications in sensing and imaging science,” she said.

The project also builds upon recent advances in signal processing that enable self-calibration, Chi said.

Also important, she said, is the potential impact on the classrooms of tomorrow. The data management research can help further encourage young students toward STEM education by developing tailored educational components for students at all levels, designing signal processing modules that are appropriate for dissemination to K-12 students, and involving women and underrepresented students to promote their success through outreach activities.

Upon learning she received the NSF CAREER Award, Chi thanked her colleagues at the ECE department for their continued support.

"This is my third early career award from major federal funding agencies," she said.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.