Current Vacancies (see below for more details):
We have a one-year opening for a postdoctoral researcher with a start date in late 2022.
There are currently no openings for MPhil or PhD students (except via HKPFS).
There are currently no openings for interns.
PhD and MPhil Students
If you are interested in doing an MPhil or PhD under my supervision, please send me an application email including your CV, unofficial transcripts, and links to competitive programming profiles (if any). Be patient after sending the email. I often receive more than 300 emails per day and it will take me a while to reply, but I will eventually reply.
Funding. PhD students at HKUST can either be funded by the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) or directly by their future research group. MPhil students are always funded by the group. Vacancies for MPhil and non-HKPFS PhD positions in our group are always advertised on this website. We currently do not have such vacancies. HKPFS is a separate annual process. If you plan to join our group via this route, you should (i) send me your application email at least 3 months in advance, i.e. 3 months before the HKPFS deadline, and (ii) apply for early admission.
Process. The internal selection process for postgraduate students is identical no matter the degree or funding scheme to which they apply. In the first step, I check whether your application seems promising. This is a simple check and your application passes if you satisfy any of the following conditions:
Having or expecting to graduate from a bachelor's/master's degree in mathematics or computer science with a substantial theoretical content and a high GPA. Normally, I expect you to be graduating from one of the top universities in your country and rank in the top 5-10%;
Having research experience, e.g. internships or publications, in theoretical computer science or related areas in math, e.g. combinatorics or computational algebra;
Providing positive recommendation letters from one or more professors in these areas;
Having a medal in one of the major national or international Olympiads and competitions in mathematical problem-solving or programming, e.g. IMO, IOI, IMC, ICPC, or alternatively providing a link to a competitive programming profile, e.g. on codeforces or topcoder, with a high rating;
Any other significant achievement that strongly indicates the potential to do a successful PhD in computing.
All candidates who pass the first stage will be interviewed. In the technical interview, you will be given a few algorithmic, programming or mathematical problems (depending on your background) and have to solve them within 1.5-2 hours. This is similar to SWE interviews at companies such as Google or Meta. The problems usually have 8-10 levels of difficulty and I keep track of how many levels you can successfully handle. Candidates who solve the most problems will be offered MPhil/PhD positions or nominated to HKPFS.
Success Rate. In the past years, the interview process has had a success rate of 1.7% (number of offers/number of interviewees).
Commitment to Diversity. I am committed to maintain an environment with significant diversity and our team is currently the most international research group in Hong Kong. If you are from an underrepresented minority in computing do not hesitate to apply to our group. The process outlined above is designed to ensure fairness to all candidates. I do not recruit students solely based on their GPA, CV, former university, standardized test scores or recommendation letters, precisely because such metrics often fail to adequately capture the abilities of various minorities. In our group, if you can solve problems, you will be given a fair chance to show it in an interview and will be offered a PhD/MPhil position irrespective of your educational background, gender, where you come from, or anything other than mathematical or computing talent.
Current Opening: We have an opening for a postdoctoral researcher for an initial period of 12 months, with a possible extension to a second year at the end of its term. The position will be funded from a grant by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC). The starting date is flexible and we plan to fill the position by late 2022 or early 2023. The candidate is expected to have research experience and an excellent portfolio of publications in theoretical computer science (TCS). We welcome applications from all areas of TCS, including but not limited to algorithms and complexity, programming languages theory, formal verification and cryptography. Prior experience in either parameterized algorithms and complexity or theoretical aspects of blockchains is a huge advantage. To apply, please send me an email with your CV, a list of your publications, and a reference letter (preferably from your PhD advisor) or the contact details of a person who has agreed to provide the letter.
Recurring Openings: Postdocs can join our group using the RGC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme (PDFS). This is a Hong Kong-wide annual program that awards 3-year positions with generous funding. If you are interested in joining our group via this route, please get in touch with me several months before the deadline.
Final-year Thesis (FYT) and Final-year Project (FYP)
Our FYT/FYP program is only open to HKUST undergraduates. If you are an undergraduate student/team of students in either mathematics or computing and wish to do an FYT/FYP in our group, please write to me at least 3 months before the internal deadline to discuss the possibilities and potential topics.
HKUST has an internship program that is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in universities around the world. These are usually 3-month paid positions over one academic semester. In normal years, our group would recruit 3-4 interns per year. However, the internship program is currently suspended due to the pandemic and we have no openings until further notice.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP)
The UROP program is open only to HKUST undergraduates. If you are doing your UG studies in either computing or math, you can write to me for a UROP. Please ensure that you contact me at least 3 months before the expected starting date of your UROP.
We are generally happy to host both pre-doc and post-doc visitors throughout the year. If your research interests are close to our group, feel free to get in touch via email.