The world’s largest association of technical professionals just gave an SMU data scientist a fellowship people under 40 rarely get

Singapore-based data scientist Steven Hoi, 39, was awarded the IEEE fellowship for his research in machine learning.
Singapore Management University
  • An artificial intelligence and data science researcher has been made one of the world’s youngest new IEEE Fellows.

  • The IEEE is a worldwide organisation of technical professionals who research technological advancements.

  • It is rare for a “newly-elevated” IEEE Fellow to be under 40 years old.

Once Jan 1 arrives, Singapore-based data scientist Steven Hoi, 39, will be one of the youngest IEEE Fellows in the world.

The fellowship, which recognises “extraordinary accomplishments”, is awarded by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – the world’s largest organisation of technical professionals working to research technological advancements.

Every year, only 0.1 per cent of the IEEE’s total voting membership can be made Fellows. The IEEE currently has over 400,000 members, and the title is “recognised by the technical community as a prestigious honour,” according to the IEEE Fellows website.

Hoi, who is an associate professor at Singapore Management University (SMU)’s School of Information Systems, was conferred the fellowship for his research on machine learning and artificial intelligence in Singapore.

“The number of newly-elevated IEEE Fellows under age 40 is very rare,” SMU said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 18), adding that Prof Hoi belonged to the “youngest category” of new Fellows.

According to the IEEE Fellows website, potential Fellows must be at least 32 years old and have 10 years of working experience.

Hoi’s research centres mainly on machine learning. Alongside fellow researchers, he invented a new concept – batch mode active learning – that teaches machines to select multiple informative samples (such as images in a database) to complete tasks with minimum human effort.

He is also one of the world’s leading researchers in online learning – a division of machine learning that develops computers which can analyse large, continuous streams of data.

Hoi – who is chief editor of the Neurocomputing journal – has also done research on social media analytics, web searches, data mining, computational finance and cybersecurity intelligence.

The tech he develops has been used in the Health Promotion Board’s Healthy365 app, and he has worked with Singapore’s Defence Ministry to identify malicious links in emails, The Straits Times reported.

“It is quite an honour to receive this prestigious recognition – not only for myself, but also my collaborators, students, and all the people who have worked with me,” Hoi told Business Insider. “I really appreciate their efforts in all the achievements we have made over the past 15 years.”

As an IEEE Fellow, Hoi will receive a framed certificate, a congratulatory letter, and a special gold sterling silver lapel pin.

Other Singapore-based researchers who have been made IEEE Fellows in the past include five faculty members from the National University of Singapore – Lim Teng Joon, Mehul Motani, Zhang Rui, Yan Shuicheng and Guo Yongxin.