Professor Benjamin Wah was the Franklin W. Woeltge Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a prominent computer scientist, with expertise in non-linear programming, multimedia signal processing and artificial intelligence. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has served as the President of IEEE Computer Society. Professor Wah has received numerous international honours and awards for his distinguished academic and professional achievements. Among these are the Distinguished Alumni Award in Computer Science of the University of California, Berkeley, the W. Wallace McDowell Award, the Tsutomu Kanai Award and the Richard E. Merwin Distinguished Service Award of the IEEE Computer Society.
In 1998-99, Professor Wah was Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at CUHK, and in that year received an Exemplary Teaching Award. His bonds with the University continued afterwards as he served in the capacity of Adjunct Professor in the Department from 1999 to 2003.
Professor Wah has also long been committed to enhancing the development of higher education and research in Hong Kong. He was a member of the Research Grants Council of the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong between 2005 and 2009, and served as the Chairman of its Engineering Panel between 2006 and 2009. He was re-appointed as member of the RGC in October 2011 and appointed as Chairman of the RGC in January 2013. He was appointed as ex-officio member of the Steering Committee on Innovation and Technology of the HKSAR Government in the capacity as the Chairman of the Research Grants Council in 2013. He is currently member of various UGC Sub-Committees, namely Strategy Sub-Committee, Research Group, Communications Group, and Research Assessment Exercise Group. He also serves on the Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Born and brought up in Hong Kong, Professor Wah graduated from Queen Elizabeth School and pursued further studies in the US. He received his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Columbia University, and his MS in Computer Science and PhD in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He began teaching in Purdue University in 1979, and later joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1985. He also served as Director of the Advanced Digital Sciences Centre established by the University of Illinois in Singapore in 2009, with funding from the Singapore government’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research. He was appointed as advisory member of the Expert Task Force of Big Data established by the China Computer Federation in 2013.