Alumnus Spotlight: Robin Ying, Ph.D. ’20

Robin Ying

December 21, 2020

Robin Ying, Ph.D. ’20, is a December 2020 graduate of the electrical and computer engineering program.

What is your area of research and what are its broader implications?

My research is on RF and mm-wave high-performance receiver technologies and techniques. As the RF spectrum becomes increasingly crowded, demands on receiver flexibility and interference-tolerance are becoming more stringent. At the same time, while higher frequency bands are becoming available, they often exceed the attainable ranges for modern receivers. Thus, to make effective use of the entire available spectrum, my research enables tunable, interference-tolerance receivers at millimeter wave frequencies.

What challenges did you face completing your degree during the pandemic, and did you find any benefits to the modified year?

I was teaching ECE4740 as a lecturer when the pandemic hit, and while it was extremely stressful and pushed me to the limits of my patience for poor communication, I found that the experience really solidified my interest and passion in teaching. Additionally, the timeline for various tape-outs and testing plans were delayed, but with the need to share precious time in lab, I devised a setup that allowed me to do all my data acquisition from home.

If you could go back in time to the beginning of your graduate career, what advice would you give yourself?

1. Worry less about making progress day by day or week by week and instead take stock of the progress and development of ideas that you can only really see on a month by month or even year by year timescale. 2. Choose the project that you will want to push through come hell or high water and not the project that has more funding.

Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?

I did my undergraduate studies at Cornell, but I never took any courses with my Ph.D. advisor. When I started to do research in his group as a senior, I found that his mentorship style, expertise, and values were a one-of-kind hand-in-glove fit for me.