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SEAS Professor Receives Tenure

Gu-Yeon Wei, an electrical engineering professor who focuses on designing efficient electronic circuits, has been granted tenure in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Colleagues and students said they were delighted to hear that Wei, who has worked at Harvard since 2002, had been named a Gordon McKay professor of electrical engineering.

“I’m thrilled we’re getting to keep him,” said Computer Science Professor Michael D. Mitzenmacher. “He is going to be a true asset to SEAS in terms of his work, in terms of his personality, and in terms of the energy and excitement he will be bringing to Harvard.”

Mitzenmacher highlighted Wei’s collaborative spirit as one of the ways he would contribute to SEAS in the future.

In particular, he noted that Wei’s extensive research with Computer Science Professor David Brooks had helped to “put Harvard on the map” in the field of hardware and circuit design.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Matt Welsh also said he was excited about Wei’s appointment, in part due to Wei’s ability to draw connections among professors in different subjects.

“He typifies what we like to talk about here in SEAS as the very multidisciplinary type of researcher,” Welsh said. “With the small number of faculty [in the electrical engineering                   department], bridges.”

Welsh said that Wei had been instrumental in planning and securing funding for the “Robobee” project, a research endeavor involving 11 professors from fields as disparate as computer science and organismic and evolutionary biology. The project, which will be supported by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to create a cooperative colony of miniature flying robots that resemble bees.

A number of current and former students also said that they were excited to hear about Wei’s appointment.

Svilen N. Kanev ’12, who has taken two classes with Professor Wei, said he found Wei to be an enthusiastic instructor as well as a helpful mentor.

“He really loves explaining concepts, and obviously does it well,” Kanev said.

Kanev added that Wei has become an unofficial advisor for him. He said that in this capacity, Wei does not cultivate the “classical advisor-advisee relationship,” but rather tends to form closer, friendlier bonds with students.

Benjamin Lee, who received a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard in 2008, also said that Wei had served as an unofficial advisor for him during his time at Harvard.

He said that Wei had maintained an “open-door policy” with regard to discussing Lee’s research, and he had helped Lee secure a postdoctoral position at Stanford.

“I think he certainly has a vested interesting in seeing his students succeed academically and in their careers,” Lee said.

—Staff writer Evan T.R. Rosenman can be reached at erosenm@fas.harvard.edu.

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