University Awards 2018


Scroller UNI Research Award 




Prof TOH Kim Chuan is widely recognised in the computational optimisation community, and is among the world's leading figures in semidefinite programming (SDP), a major development in optimisation since the 1990s. 

In a series of papers he worked together with his collaborators in Cornell University, Kim Chuan designed, analysed and implemented highly efficient and robust primal-dual interior-point algorithms for solving SDPs, which culminated in the general purpose SDP software, SDPT3. To date, this has been used to solve SDPs in a wide array of areas, ranging from antenna array and filter design in electrical engineering to machine learning and computer vision in computer science, truss topology design and limit analysis of structures in civil engineering to covariance matrix estimation in statistics, as well as in areas such as sensor network localisation and quantum information.

For his fundamental contributions to the theory, practice and application of convex optimisation, Kim Chuan was awarded the 2017 Farkas Prize of the INFORMS Optimization Society. Recently, he was also selected as a In Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Class of 2018. 




Prof CHONG Chi Tat joined the University in 1974 as a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. He excelled in the areas of teaching and research, and was promoted to full Professorship at the age of 39.

Chi Tat has garnered an international reputation in the field of mathematical logic specialising in the theory of computation. He has written two books, and has published in the most prestigious mathematical journals, such as the Journal of the American Mathematical Society. His two landmark papers published in 2014 and 2017, respectively, settled two prominent problems in the reverse mathematics of Ramsey theory open for 20 years. As an indication of his high academic standing, he is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Mathematical Logic and a regular reviewer for mathematical journals and of research grant applications in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. 

Chi Tat contributed significantly towards university administration when NUS underwent a major transformation in education and research, from 1996 to 2002. He led the restructuring of the University curriculum, which provided breadth and depth to NUS undergraduate education and incorporated the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme for talented students. As Provost and Deputy President, he oversaw the revamp of cross-faculty modules and the introduction of the General Education Module.

Chi Tat was instrumental in transforming the Talent Development Programme into the University Scholars Programme in 2001. Also, that year, he played a pivotal role in the implementation of a system which adopts the best practices in the appointment, promotion and tenure of academic staff. The system serves as the cornerstone in the recruitment and retention of talented NUS faculty. 

Chi Tat’s contribution in the field of education goes beyond NUS. In 2002, he chaired a steering committee in the Ministry of Education on the establishment of the NUS High School for Mathematics and Science. He also chaired an MOE Committee in 2003 on the revamp of the GCE A-Level curriculum. 

Chi Tat was recognised for his tireless public service with the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2002. In 2004, he was named the second University Professor of NUS, the highest honour bestowed upon a very select group of the University’s tenured faculty.