Chiang receives Presidential Early Career Award

Mung Chiang, a Princeton engineering professor who studies the communications networks integral to modern society, has received a 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House.

Chiang, an associate professor of electrical engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was one of 67 scientists who received the awards at a ceremony held at the White House on Dec. 19.

The annual awards are given to early career engineers and scientists whose work "shows exceptional promise for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge," according to a statement from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The award is considered the nation's highest honor for researchers at the beginning of their independent scientific careers.  

Chiang was recognized for his research on communication networks such as those that serve as the basis of the Internet, broadband access and wireless services. The citation for his award noted his "fundamental contributions to optimization, distributed algorithm and stochastic analysis of communication networks, leadership in the networking research community and mentorship of undergraduates."

Chiang's work focuses on optimizing the performance and robustness of such networks, allowing them to grow larger and operate faster. Such improvements could lead to far-reaching practical outcomes, such as better mobile network services and faster Internet connections. Some of his algorithms have been adopted by communications industry giants such as AT&T and Qualcomm.

His theoretical research on network-related mathematical models and algorithms also has thrust him to the forefront of international efforts to rethink the theory of network design and analysis. "We want to provide practical solutions to individual problems," he said, "but we don't want to stop there. We want to give a new generation of engineers a way to design networks more systematically and rigorously."

Chiang joined the Princeton faculty in 2003 after earning his Ph.D. from Stanford University. In 2005, he received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. In 2007, he received a Young Investigator grant from the Office of Naval Research and was named to Technology Review Magazine's TR35, a list of 35 top innovators in the world under the age of 35. Last year, the National Academy of Engineers selected him to attend the Frontiers of Engineering, a symposium that brings together emerging engineering leaders to discuss pioneering technical work and cutting-edge research.