Meet KAUST prospective student: Yingquan Li

M.S./Ph.D. candidate Yingquan Li, KAUST.
-By Taruna Rapaka

Yingquan Li, 21, is an electrical engineering graduate who will join KAUST in the fall of 2020. He will join KAUST as a M.S./Ph.D. candidate in the KAUST Communication Theory Lab under the supervision of Professor Mohamed-Slim Alouini.

An initial reference from a supervisor spurred his interest in joining KAUST, which resulted in a visiting student opportunity at KAUST. During his internship, Li was amazed by the facilities and research standard found on campus. It was this combination of impressive factors that inspired him to continue his academic career at the University.

What was your main subject during your undergraduate degree? Why did you choose it?

My major is communication engineering. When it came to choosing the main subject, I just wanted to study standard technologies that may be widely used in daily life. So, I came to the world of communication. Now I have decided to continue researching advanced communication technologies and I aspire to be a scientist.

When did your interest in electrical engineering arise? What are your research interests?

There are two significant events; the first one occurred in 2018. We needed to design a multicycle CPU by FPGA. As I was a leader, there was no doubt I needed to learn from, and teach, my colleagues. Although it was a tough time, I felt happy and had a good taste of being a researcher. 

The second event happened in 2019; the task was to achieve stable indoor communication by Simulink and other hardware (to deliver online audio service and transmit images). For this task, I read a considerable number of papers and tried many solutions. It was the first time I had designed a whole communication system, which was appreciated by the advisor (a qualified engineer). After these two tough challenges, I became a more robust researcher, and it confirmed my dream to become an electrical engineer. 

My research interests include advanced signal detecting and processing, hardware implementation of key communication technology and underwater optical wireless communication.

What do you do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?

I enjoy swimming and walking. Sometimes I learn things just for fun: for example, I learned a little Arabic recently, and I can now write my name and greet others. Cooking and playing on my phone are also two exciting ways to kill time, but I spend most of my spare time with friends.

What is your future outlook?

After obtaining a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering, I will join an institute or university to continue my research career. 

Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue a M.S./Ph.D. at KAUST?

The principal thing is to discover your research interest and get your track work. Also, make proper connections with your colleagues, particularly groupmates. Don't forget to converse with your professor and postdoc/research scientist. And then, try to discover something you can do in your extra time. If you achieve these three things, then you can have a very enjoyable time at KAUST.