Rice PhD student, Yang Zhao receives 2020-21 Cadence Women in Technology Scholarship

Zhao's research has focused on developing AI hardware acceleration, computer architecture, and design automation tools for AI and their system security.

Yang Zhao

Congratulations are in order for Yang Zhao, a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Rice University who has been awarded the 2020 Cadence Women in Technology Scholarship.

Sponsored by Cadence, a computational software and hardware company, the scholarship is awarded to female students who have a passion for computer science, electrical and computer engineering, or a closely related field. Nominees must also have a strong academic record and demonstrate leadership skills within their community or field. The award was created to build a culture that fosters inclusion and embraces diversity within the tech sector.

During her time at Rice, Yang Zhao's research has focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI). She has developed hardware and systems, such as AI hardware acceleration, computer architecture, and design automation tools for AI and their system security. She is currently focusing on building hardware accelerators and designing automation tools for efficiently running AI applications on Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.

Zhao's award is an outstanding achievement, and she hopes it will inspire more females to pursue the field of electrical and computer engineering along with AI.

Speaking on what encouraged her to study AI, she said, "After enrolling in the Rice Ph.D. program, I got to know a lot of hardworking, passionate, and reliable female researchers. They have encouraged me to follow my passions."

Yang Zhao's ongoing project is to develop efficient ASIC accelerators for AI-powered IoT devices through algorithms and sustainable hardware co-designs. She hopes her research can help realize green and secure AI in numerous resource-constrained applications, ranging from drone video analytics to medical applications and smart cities.

Zhao's advisor at Rice is Yingyan Lin. "Lin always encourages me to dream big and be braver in showing my love and aggressiveness within the ECE field. Having a female advisor confirmed my belief that passion and interest are the only prerequisites for studying technology, and consistent hard work is the only way to achieve excellence."