Boyang Wang earned his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona in 2017. His advisor was Ming Li of ECE. Now he is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
Why did you choose to study electrical and/or computer engineering? What brought you to the University of Arizona?
I was a Ph.D. student at Utah State University initially. My advisor, Ming Li, moved to the ECE department at the UA in 2015. I decided to transfer to Arizona because I wanted to continue my research with Dr. Li and also because the ECE program is renowned.
What was one of your greatest takeaways from the program?
The program is well-designed. As a student, I learned fundamental knowledge and advanced skills to pursue my career in electrical and computer engineering. In addition, I really enjoyed the interactions with ECE faculty through various gatherings, such as informal meetings, research presentations and graduate student poster sessions. The faculty care about students’ success and are extremely supportive. I received valuable feedback and suggestions from my dissertation committee, including Marwan Krunz, Loukas Lazos, and Ravi Tandon, as well as Dr. Li.
What was your favorite part of your time at the University of Arizona Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering?
My fondest moments at ECE are working with Dr. Li and other students in the research lab. Working with an outstanding mentor on challenging research was a rewarding experience. He provided many suggestions on how to improve my research and teaching skills. Whenever I had doubles regarding research or faced challenges in life, he was always available. I was very lucky to have him as my advisor.
What are you up to now?
I am an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC). I also serve as the program director of cybersecurity engineering at UC and the principal investigator of RHEST -- National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduate Site in Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust. I enjoy both research and teaching.
My current research interests include hardware and embedded system security, machine learning, binary analysis and wireless security. My graduate students and I leverage deep learning to analyze side-channel leakage from chips, such as microcontrollers and FPGAs, and reveal encryption keys when chips execute state-of-the-art encryption algorithms. Our overarching goal in this research project is to minimize the side-channel leakage and enhance the security and trust of chips.
How did participating in our program help you get there?
I was fortunate to earn tenure and promotion to associate professor at UC. Obtaining tenure is not easy and requires many skills, including research, teaching and mentoring. The ECE program at the UA helped me develop and promote skills as a graduate student that are fundamental to my academic career. I would like to thank the ECE program for providing exceptional research and education resources to students.
Any advice for current students with similar academic and career goals?
For students interested in academic positions, I recommend seeking suggestions and feedback from ECE faculty not only on research directions but also on teaching, service and mentoring. Establishing a plan for the next five or 10 years is also very helpful and important. Participating in conferences, expanding professional networks and promoting your research are also helpful.