Who am I? Qualcomm, Motorola, IEEE and San Diego

Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Xun Luo, a research staff member at Qualcomm Inc, an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, and a distinguished guest professor at Tianjin University of Technology, China.

Dr. Luo is also a Program Evaluator for the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. In 2014, Dr. Luo co-founded the IEEE San Diego SIGHT group – Connected Universal Experiences Labs, which dedicates itself to breaking the geographical, cultural and lingual barriers between volunteers and people in need. Connected Universal Experience Labs has now evolved into a multi-national, multi-society incubator of for-public benefit projects.

Dr Luo with some of his students

Dr Luo with some of his students

Dr Luo can briefly tell us a little about yourself and the work that you do at Qualcomm.

Well, I grew up in China and I came to the US for my graduate studies. I got my Masters in Mathematics, out of my hobby, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I got fond of Commodity Pricing. While my PhD research was in very topical fields of Pervasive Computing and Visualization. I worked with a professor of finance for a year and published a report on crude oil price prediction and I am still receiving hundreds of requests these days for the model source code. After graduation, I was lucky enough to get into the mobile communication industry, first at Motorola Labs and then at Qualcomm. I worked at the research institutes of these two companies.

At Qualcomm I conduct connectivity research, which spans from radio networks to local area networks.In layman terms, you can say 3G/4G, WiFi and Bluetooth technology. In the past few years, I was have been researching these technologies and I have several numerous research papers and  8 patents.

In my part time, I serve as an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a distinguished guest professor at Tianjin University of Technology, China.

How did you get involved with IEEE?

That is a very interesting story. San Diego has a very vibrant IEEE community and every year they hold about 50-60 technical meetings. Many attendees are attracted by the interesting topics of these meetings. Back in 2008, I had just started my career and all the topics seemed very exciting to me and they were delivered by volunteers who were experts in their field. For example, one of the local meeting was able to invite Dr. Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm’s founder as a panellist. This clearly says a lot for the San Diego IEEE community. I was impressed by the dedication and passion of the local IEEE volunteers and eventually I decided to join. I started as the chair of Computer Chapter and ran approximately 40 meetings a year. I became the section chair In 2012 and had the honour of leading the IEEE San Diego Section to win the “Outstanding Section Award of Region 6”.

“The IEEE volunteering experience is very rewarding. I have had the pleasure of working with passionate and bright people, grew my leadership capabilities and was able to to embrace multi-national team work.” 


Dr Luo receiving the award for Outstanding Section in 2011

Dr Luo receiving the award for Outstanding Section in 2011

How have you personally benefited from being an IEEE member?

IEEE has helped me in so many ways that it is hard to summarise in short. However the three key area that I would like to highlight are:

  • Technical: Contributions in the form of the IEEE Digital Library proceedings, literature and talks delivered by the individuals/teams who are leading the industry.
  • Leadership: Through volunteering, I was able to developed great organisational skills and to work as a team in order to achieve bigger goals. Several initiatives today are going to impact tens of thousands of IEEE members’ lives; for instance, the IEEE SIGHT initiative.
  • Friendship: I made friends and visited some of the most unexpected places in the world. I have been to several Indian cities and rebellion-controlled areas of Colombia to name a few. What is most exciting is that no matter what people’s political views may be, all engineers love technology and the idea of exchanging information with their peers takes precedence. I have undertaken adventures with friends to some very intriguing parts of our planet and hope to continue doing so.

What advice can you provide to IEEE Young Professionals who are wanting to pursue in highly prestigious companies, like Qualcomm?

First of all, IEEE is a technical institution, not a university; it provides great networking opportunities. My suggestion is make good use of the IEEE network and try to get in touch with professional members in various disciplines. The second thing is grow your leadership capabilities. We live in an age of innovation, more or less of entrepreneurship. Even if you work at a company, you are still required to have the capability and mindset to start a job from scratch. So, innovation, leadership and technical capability are some things that you definitely need to further develop while you study.


Another important point is that you need to ensure that you work with the most passionate and bright people. I would say that the IEEE is a vehicle to enable this for young professionals. Ensure that you work in teams and feed of each others knowledge. This team will help you in achieving many things. Firstly, it will help you to establish yourself technically. Secondly, it will provide the network for you to get noticed. You could be a great engineer but not noticed, you could be noticed but are not a good engineer. You need to have talent and you need someone to discover your talent. So, you need to prepare yourself for this and you need to work with people because at the end of the day, you need to do something big, something innovative, something that is by itself of high quality, that is self-contained, where you can prove yourself. Without a team, that is not possible. So, connect with people and make the best use of your connections.

Interview conducted by Neha Dawar, Assistant Editor, GOLDRush

Article edited by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, GOLDRush

2014 IEEE YP Affinity Group Hall of Fame Awards Announced

We are pleased to announce this year’s winners of the IEEE Young Professionals Affinity Group Hall of Fame Award! Entries were evaluated based on their 2013 activities. A very competitive contest this year, the judges commented that it’s never an easy choice to choose from all of our great affinity groups worldwide.
This year the two inductees into the Hall of Fame are Santa Clara Valley (Region 6) and Croatia (Region 8). If you didn’t win this year, we highly encourage you to apply again next year. We will be providing feedback on your applications to help you plan for greater success in 2015!

The 2014 IEEE Young Professionals Committee

Santa Clara Valley GOLD Launches New IEEE YP Brand at the GHTC

GHTC Team and Sponsors

GHTC Team and Sponsors

In March of 2013 the Santa Clara Valley (SCV) chapter of GOLD was asked to help plan a session at the Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC). We recognized this as a great opportunity for SCV GOLD and accepted the challenge. At the same time, our local chapter for Women in Engineering (WIE) was being re-established. In a bid to create a strategic partnership and help the WIE chapter build their membership and exposure, we asked WIE to plan the session with us—naturally they agreed.

The GHTC has historically run a substantial deficit, so we were given the tough challenge of finding funding for the event. We sought funding from a number of industry and IEEE sources; in the end, our sponsors were IEEE WIE, IEEE Region 6 Young Professionals (YP), IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, and IEEE YP. IEEE YP also asked us to do the honor of announcing their name change from “GOLD” to “YP” and launching their new logo. We were truly honored to be able to do this.

GHTC LogoOur event took place on October 20, 2013 starting at 19:00 at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel in California. We were fortunate to have 97 attendees from over 25 countries attend this event, creating a truly diverse atmosphere for discussing ways to use technology to improve humanity.
The GHTC is truly aligned with the IEEE’s tagline, “Advancing Technology for Humanity.” There are many sessions offered at this conference and I urge you to consider attending next year. It’s truly inspirational to see how engineers around the world use their skills to better humanity!

Thomson Nguyen speaking on Data Science for Good

Thomson Nguyen speaking on Data Science for Good

Thomson Nguyen, CEO of Framed Data—a company which helps non-profits receive the benefits of data analytics—was our speaker. Framed Data is building a general-purpose data science platform which will provide analysis for multiple non-profits, greatly reducing the cost for each organization. Thomson’s talk was entitled Data Science for Good: Using Engineering and Machine Learning to Affect Societal Change. He gave specific examples of how he had used data science to solve problems in the non-profit world. One example was a model he created to help medical doctors determine whether to hospitalize a patient or not, based on a number of variables. This model was shown to greatly reduce improper hospitalization.

One of the most important things demonstrated in this talk was that we can use our skills to improve the lives of others. It’s important for us to think about the impact our skills can have, and how they can improve the effectiveness of non-profits around the world; however, our skills as engineers are prohibitively expensive for most non-profits to afford. (SCV YP recently ran a separate Volunteer Information Evening where non-profits came to discuss opportunities for engineers to improve their causes. For example, there were requirements for hardware engineers helping build systems to protect endangered wildlife, for software engineers building apps to improve literacy, and opportunities to speak in classrooms to give hope to our future generations. Think about how your engineering skills could improve the efficiency of a non-profit and better people’s lives in your community!)

SCV YP Team and cake with new IEEE YP logo

SCV YP Team and cake with new IEEE YP logo

After the speaker, we had offered an hour-long open bar where participants could relax with a drink and discuss the topics at hand. There were many interesting projects discussed, such as a crowdsourcing platform to employ people in the third world. We also had two delicious cakes sponsored by IEEE YP featuring the new YP logo. The night was a huge success that not only provided global visibility for YP and WIE, but also laid the groundwork for a number of strategic partnerships for our chapter.

GHTC Website: http://www.ieeeghtc.org/
SCV YP Website: http://www.ieee-scv-gold.org/
GHTC Blog: http://ieeeghtc.wordpress.com/
YP/WIE Session Post: http://ieeeghtc.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/ieee-gold-wie-session-ieeeghtc2013/

Article contributed by Tim Worboys, IEEE SCV YP Chair