Yi Ma

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Yi Ma

Primary Research Area

  • Control

For more information



  • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at Berkeley, 2000


Yi Ma was born in Sichuan Province, China, in November 1972. He received two Bachelors degree in Automation and Applied Mathematics from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1995. He received an Master degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) in 1997, a second Master degree in Mathematics in 2000, and the Ph.D. degree in EECS in 2000, all from the University of California at Berkeley. Upon graduation in August 2000, he joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he now holds the rank of associate professor (with tenure). He also serves as a research associate professor both in the Decision & Control Group of the Coordinated Science Laboratory and in the Image Formation & Processing Group of the Beckman Institute. He was a visiting senior researcher at the Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing, China in fall 2006 and a visiting professor at EECS Department of UC Berkeley in spring 2007. Starting from spring 2009, he will serve as research manager for the Visual Computing Group at Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing, China. He is an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence since 2007 and an associate editor for the International Journal of Computer Vision since 2010.

Research Statement

My main research interest is in finding the most pertinent mathematical principles for analyzing and understanding high-dimensional sensorial data such as images and videos, so that machines and human can make more intelligent decisions.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

My research areas include computer vision, image processing, and high-dimensional pattern analysis. Interesting research projects include: data classification and face recognition, data clustering and image segmentation, structure from motion, sparse representation of high-dimensional data.

Research Interests

  • Hybrid Systems and Vision-Based Control
  • High-Dimensional Data Clustering, Classification, and Compression
  • Computer Vision and Image Understanding

Research Areas

  • Computer vision and pattern recognition
  • Control
  • Discrete-event, switched and hybrid systems
  • Image, video, and multimedia processing and compression
  • Information theory
  • Machine learning and pattern recognition
  • Nonlinear systems and control
  • Robotics
  • Vision-based control


  • Keynote speech at Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications, Queensland, Australia, December 2011.
  • Keynote speech at the 3rd International Conference on Awareness Science and Technology, Dalian, China, September 2011.
  • Plenary talk at Signal Processing with Adaptive Sparse Structured Representations (SPARS), Edinburg, June 2011.
  • Distinguished Lecture at Technion Computer Engineering Inauguration Conference, Israel, June 1-6, 2011.
  • Keynote Speech at AAAI Symposium on Manifold Learning and its Applications, Arlington, VA. Nov. 11, 2010.
  • Plenary Speaker at Visual Communications and Image Processing (VCIP), Huangshan, China, July 2010.
  • Sang Uk Lee Best Student Paper Award, Asian Conference on Computer Vision, 2009
  • Keynote Speaker at the 22th IPPR Conference on Computer Vision, Graphics, and Image Processing, 2009
  • Keynote Speaker at Workshop on Local and Non-Local Approximation in Image Processing, 2009
  • Plenary Speaker at Picture Coding Symposium, 2009
  • Senior Member of IEEE, 2006
  • Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, 2005
  • Louguet-Higgins Best Paper Award of the European Conference on Computer Vision, 2004
  • CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, 2003
  • David Marr Best Paper Award of the Intertional Conference on Computer Vision, 1999

Teaching Honors

  • Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2001, Fall 2002, and Spring 2006.

Courses Taught

  • ECE 598 - Special Topics in ECE