Office of the President

Dr. Tony F Chan

  • Biography
  • Curriculum Vitae

Professor Chan assumed his role as the third president of KAUST in September 2018 after nearly a decade as president of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He led a strategic planning process to lead KAUST into its second decade, including growing the faculty and students by up to 50%. He has expanded KAUST's research emphasis from energy, water, food and environment to include digital and health, launching new initiatives in Artificial Intelligence, Smart Health, Cyber Security and Circular Carbon.  He is increasing investment and capacity in innovation, entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer. By positioning the University to leverage Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030 strategic plan, he is strengthening its engagement with the nation. Finally, he is leading efforts to enhance the global and national visibility of KAUST.

Before joining HKUST, President Chan was Assistant Director of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at the US National Science Foundation from 2006 to 2009.  He taught Computer Science at Yale University before joining UCLA as Professor of Mathematics in 1986 and was Chair of the Department of Mathematics in 1997 and later Dean of Physical Sciences.  He was a co-founder and Director of the US NSF funded National Math Institute IPAM.

He received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Engineering from Caltech and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, followed by a Research Fellowship at Caltech. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Strathclyde.  He is a member of US National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of IEEE, AAAS and SIAM.  He was awarded the 2020 SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession.  

He serves as a member of the Board/Council/Directors of the Future Investment Initiative Institute; King Abdulaziz City of Science & Technology; the Biotechnology City Initiative of Riyadh; the Supreme Committee for Research, Development and Innovation (RDI SC),  Skolkovo, Russia; Yidan Prize Foundation, Hong Kong; IPAM, UCLA and the Hong Kong Academy of Science. He also serves on the Advisory Board/Committee of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals; NEOM; KAPSARC College, the Supervisory National Strategy Committee of Data and AI of the Saudi Data & AI Authority;  KAIST, Korea; RIKEN, Japan; Hang Lung Mathematics Awards, China,  SUSTech, China; and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, China.

Read more at President website

​Curriculum Vitae

  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, Stanford University, United States, 1978
  • M.S. (Aeronautics), Caltech, United States, 1973
  • B.S. (Engineering, Honors), Caltech, United States, 1973.

Professional Profile

  • Sept. 2018: President, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • 2009 - 2018: President, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
  • 2006 – 2009: Assistant Director, Directorate for Math & Physical Sciences, US National Science Foundation, United States
  • 2001 – 2006: Dean, Div. of Physical Sciences, UCLA, United States
  • 2000 – 2001: Director, Institute for Pure and Applied Math (IPAM), UCLA, United States
  • 1997 – 2000: Chair, Dept. of Math., UCLA, United States
  • 1996 – 1997: Graduate Vice Chair, Dept. of Math, UCLA, United States
  • 1986 – 2009: Professor, Dept. of Math., UCLA, United States
  • 1983 – 1986: Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Comp. Sci., Yale University, United States
  • 1979 – 1983: Assistant Prof, Dept. of Comp.Sci., Yale University, United States
  • 1978 – 1979: Research Fellow, Applied Math. Dept., Caltech, United States

Awards and Recognition:

  • Elected Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2016
  • Founding Member & Board of Directors, Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, 2015-present
  • Fellow, Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences (HKAES), 2015-present
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Russia), 2015-present
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom, November 2015
  • Elected Member, US National Academy of Engineering, 2014
  • Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2014
  • Elected Fellow, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2010
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2011
  • Fellow and President of Executive Board, Hong Kong Institution of Science (HKIS), 2011-present
  • Member, United States Committee of 100, 2009-present
  • Southern California Chinese American Faculty Association Achievement Award, 2007
  • Best Paper Award, International Symposium on Physical Design, April 2005
  • Best Paper Award, IEEE Signal Processing Society, 2003
  • Distinguished Visitor, United College, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, 2002
  • Faculty/Staff Partnership Award, 3rd Annual Staff Assembly, UCLA, 2000 

Professional Activities:

  • Chair, Nevanlinna Prize Committee for the International Congress of Mathematicians 2018 (ICM 2018) (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Member, Committee on Innovation, Technology and Re-industralisation of the HK Government, 2017-present
  • Member, International Advisory Council, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, 2017-present
  • Member, Advisory Council, RIKEN, Japan, 2016-present
  • Member, International Advisory Board of Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2015-present
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Innovation and Technology, HK Government, 2015-2017
  • Member, President's Scientific Advisory Board, University of Vienna, 2014-present
  • Member, External Prize Committee, Society for Industrial & Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2014
  • Member, Global University Leaders Forum, World Economic Forum, 2013-present
  • Member, Technology Pioneers Selection Committee, World Economic Forum, 2014-present
  • Member, Selection Committee for the Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences, 2011-2013
  • Member, Board of Trustees, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, 2011-present
  • Member, President's Advisory Council, Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), 2011-present
  • Representative of HKUST, Association of University Presidents of China, 2009-present
  • Representative of HKUST, Association of East Asian Research Universities (AEARU), 2009-present. Chair, AEARU, 2010-2011
  • Representative of HKUST, Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), 2009-present. Member of Steering Committee, 2015-present
  • Representative of HKUST, Heads of Universities Committee (HUCOM), Hong Kong, 2009-present
  • Board of Trustees, Institute For Pure & Applied Math, UCLA, 2009-present
  • Editor in Chief (with F. Bresis and M. Griebel), Numer. Math., 2002 - present 

Research Record:

  • 2nd most highly cited publication in 2016 in Computational Mathematics (Google Scholar)
  • H-index 90. Citations for top 5 papers: 9441, 4422, 2532, 2272, 1338 (Google Scholar, Sep 2017)
  • One of the world's highly cited mathematicians from 2003-2014
  • H-index 86. Over 641 publications. Citations for top 5 papers: 8685, 4177, 2330, 2034, 1224 (Data from Google Scholar, Jan 2017)
  • Best paper awards: IEEE Signal Processing Society 2004; Int'l Symposium on Physical Design 2005
  • Fully supported by competitive federal grants throughout career without interruption: summer salaries, graduate student and postdoc support. NSF, NIH, DOE, AFOSR, ARO, ONR, DARPA, NASA
  • Supervised 36 PhDs, 25 postdocs
  • Co-Director (with Art Toga, UCLA Neurology Dept), Center for Computational Biology, UCLA. One of first 4 NIH Roadmap National Centers, 2004-2009

Major Invited Plenary/ Named Lecture:

  • Plenary speaker, National SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Math) 60th Anniversary Conference, July 2012, Minneapolis
  • Plenary panelist, European University Association Annual Meeting, Warwick, UK, 2012
  • Michalik Distinguished Lectures, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2009
  • Ostrom Lecturer, Washington State Univ., Pullman, 2009
  • Rees Distinguished Lecturer, Univ. of Delaware, 2006
  • Plenary speaker: Asian Math Conf., Singapore, 2005
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2005
  • Plenary speaker: Joint Math Meeting, San Diego, United States, 2002
  • Plenary speaker: Int'l Conf. of Chinese Mathematicians, Taipei, Dec 2001.
  • Plenary speaker: SIAM National Meeting, San Diego, 1989. 

Consulting Activities:

  • "Numb3rs", NBC prime time TV pilot, 2004. Main math consultant.
  • TechFinity, Los Angeles 2004-2006.
  • Chevron Research, La Habra, Los Angeles, 1998-99.
  • Intel, 1998-99.
  • MathSoft, Seattle, 1997-99.
  • Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, 1996-98.
  • ICASE, NASA Langley, 1995-97.
  • RIACS, NASA Ames, 1986-98.
  • SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, 1986-92.