Weng Cho Chew

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Weng Cho Chew
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
2058 ECE Building
306 North Wright Street
Urbana Illinois 61801

Primary Research Area

  • Electromagnetics and Optics

For more information



  • PhD Electrical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology June 1980

Teaching Statement

Prof. Chew teaches undergraduate courses and graduate courses. Throughout his career at UIUC, he has taught a large variety of undergraduate courses, ranging from electrical machinery, linear systems, electronic devices, electromagnetic fields and waves, to quantum mechanics for electrical engineers. He also teaches graduate courses in fundamental electromagnetics, waves and fields in inhomogeneous media, and theory of microwave and optical waveguides. He seeks to explain difficult concepts in a simple way so that one can obtain good physical insight from the complicated mathematics. He often supplements his lectures with supplementary lecture notes. He believes in the adages, "Once the mind is stretched, it does not regain its original dimension," and, "If you can't explain something simply, you don't really understand it." He is the winner of IEEE Graduate Teaching Award, the UIUC Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching, and IEEE AP Chen-To Tai Distinguised Educator Award.

Research Statement

Prof. Chew's research interest is in computational electromagnetics and fast computational algorithms for solving electromagnetic scattering and multiphysics problems. His recent research interest is in adding modern physics and multi-physics concepts to computational works. This includes developing models for solar cells, nano-electronics, quantum transport, and Casimir force. He also studies computational methods to solve the multi-scale problem in computer chip and circuit design. He works with the Area of Excellence Project at The University of Hong Kong on "Theory, Modeling, and Simulation of Emerging Electronics".

His past areas of research interest have been in wave propagation, scattering, inverse scattering, complex boundary value problems for microstrip circuits, and inhomogeneous media for geophysical subsurface sensing, nondestructive testing applications. Previously, he has designed experiments with his graduate students to demonstrate the super-resolution phenomena of nonlinear inverse scattering. Working with his group and NCSA in year 2004, they have solved record-size electromagnetic scattering problems with 20 million unknowns using fast algorithms and matrix-free methods. He is the originator of several fast algorithms for solving electromagnetics scattering and inverse problems, and has authored a book, Waves and Fields in Inhomogeneous Media, and coauthored two books, Fast and Efficient Algorithms in Computational Electromagnetics and Integral Equation Methods for Electromagnetic and Elastic Waves, in addition to more than 300 scientific journal articles and 400 conference papers, several patents, book chapters, and many lecture notes.

Prof. Chew is a Fellow of IEEE, OSA, IOP, and HKIE. He was named an NSF Presidential Young Investigator in 1986. Previously, he was the director of the Center for Computational Electromagnetics and the Electromagnetics Laboratory. He was a Founder Professor (2000-2005) of Engineering, YT Lo Chair Professor (2005-2010) of Electrical and Computer Engineering. More recently (2013), he was named the George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering.

He was the co-winner of the Schelkunoff Best Paper Award for 2001. In 2002, ISI Citation elected him to the category of Most-Highly Cited Authors. His work is cited by electromagneticists, geophysicists, mathematicians, and electro-chemists.

Before coming to University of Illinois, Prof. Chew was a department manager and program leader at Schlumberger-Doll Research. He was on special leave to serve as the Dean of Engineering at The University of Hong Kong from 2007 to 2011. He also served on the Board of the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute in Hong Kong during the period. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Progress in Electromagnetics Research, and helps organize the Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposia. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013. He is active in international collaborations.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Prof. Chew welcomes undergraduates to work in his research group.

Research Interests

  • Casimir force calculation, solar cells, nano-electronics, and nano-optics
  • Inverse scattering, imaging, and physics-based signal processing
  • Parallelization of fast algorithms
  • Electromagnetics, wave propagation in inhomogeneous media, microwave integrated circuits, microstrip antennas, and fast algorithms for radar scattering, low frequency electromagnetics, layered media, and left-handed materials.

Research Areas

  • Acoustics
  • Algorithms and computational complexity
  • Analog integrated circuits
  • Antennas for communication and wireless sensing
  • Bioelectromagnetics
  • Biomedical imaging
  • Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering, and Acoustics
  • Computational electromagnetics
  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Electromagnetics and Optics
  • Electronic packaging
  • Energy storage conversion, management, and control
  • High-frequency circuits
  • Microcavity lasers and nanophotonics
  • Nano-electro mechanical systems (NEMS)
  • Nano-electronics and single electronics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Parallel processing
  • Radar scattering
  • Radio and optical wave propagation
  • Remote Sensing
  • Wireless communication systems


  • Schelkunoff Best Paper Award, IEEE Trans. Antennas and Propagation, (coauthor) 2001
  • UIUC Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching, 2001
  • Presented five invited plenary talks in 2000
  • IEEE Graduate Teaching Award 2000

Teaching Honors

  • IEEE AP Chen-To Tai Distinguished Educator Award 2008
  • Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their student
  • UIUC Campus Award fro Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching, 2001
  • Campus Wide Professional Teaching, Honorary mention, 2000
  • IEEE Graduate Teaching Award, 2000

Research Honors

  • Visiting and Honorary Professor, The U of Hong Kong, 2013-now
  • Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore, 2013
  • George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering, COE, UIUC, 2013-now
  • National Academy of Engineering 2013
  • Hong Kong Institution of Engineers Fellow, 2009
  • Cheng Tsang Man Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2006
  • IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, 2005-2007
  • Y. T. Lo Chair Professor, 2005-2009
  • Adjunct Professor, The Electromagnetics Academy, Zhejiang University, China, 2004-present
  • Affiliate Professor, Dept. Computer Sciences, UIUC, March 1999 - present
  • Founder Professor, College of Engineering, University of Illinois, 2000-2005
  • Institute of Physics Fellow, 2004
  • Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Air Force Research Lab, 2003
  • Fellow, Optical Society of America, 2003
  • ISI Highly Cited Author (Top 0.5 %), 2002
  • One invited Plenary Lecture in 2002 and two invited talks
  • S.A. Schekulnof Best Paper Award for AP Transaction, 2001.
  • Adjunct Visitng Professor, National University of Singapore, 2000-2001
  • IEEE Graduate Teaching Award 2000
  • IBM Visiting Professor, Division of Applied Mathematics, Brown University, February 2000 - June 2000
  • Visiting Research Scientist, MIT, February 2000 - June 2000
  • Five Invited Plenary Lectures in 2000.
  • MURI Award, 1995
  • IEEE Fellow, 1993
  • Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore, Ecole Superieure d'Electricite, France, 1992
  • Presidential Young Investigator, 1986
  • Ad Com Member of IEEE-GRS, 1986
  • Active member of SEG since 1982
  • Member of URSI
  • Listed in Who's Who in the Midwest
  • Listed in Who's Who in the Frontier of Science and Technology
  • Member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, Sigma Xi
  • Outstanding Young Men of America, International Youth of Achievement

Public Service Honors

  • Editor-in-Chief, Progress in Electromagnetic Research, 2008 to present
  • Engineering Panel, Research Grant Council, Hong Kong, 2012-2013
  • Hong Kong ASTRI Board of Directors, Hong Kong, 2008 to 2012
  • Member of Hong Kong University ETI Board, 2007 to 2011
  • Dean of Engineering, The U of Hong Kong, 2007-2011
  • Board member of E-Business Technology Institute, Hong Kong, 2007-2011
  • Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Council Member, 2009 to 2010
  • Panel Reviews, NSF, LLNL
  • Proposal reviewer
  • Past Associate Editor for Journal of Electromagnetic Wave and Applications. Editor-in-Chief, 2008-2012
  • Associate Editor for Microwave Optical Technology Letters
  • Reference letters writing
  • Manuscript reviews for various journals
  • Session organizers, AP Symposium, PIERS
  • Recognition and Appreciation of Service Award, ACES 2003
  • AdCom Member, IEEE Antennas and Propagation, 2002-2004
  • Technical Program Committee, Antennas and Propagation Society, 2001-now
  • External Review for ECE Graduate Program at Texas A&M, 2000.
  • External Examiner for City University of Hong Kong 2000-2002.
  • Guest Editor, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 2000.
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 1990-2001.
  • Director, Center for Computational Electromagnetics and Electromagnetics Laboratory, 1995-2007.

Courses Taught

  • ECE 210 - Analog Signal Processing
  • ECE 211 - Analog Circuits & Systems
  • ECE 350 - Fields and Waves II
  • ECE 452 - Electromagnetic Fields
  • ECE 487 - Intro Quantum Electr for EEs
  • ECE 531 - Theory of Guided Waves
  • ECE 571 - EM Waves in Inhomogen Media
  • ECE 590 - ANT, EM Optics & Remote Sen
  • ECE 590 - Grad Sem in Special Topics