Xiaofan Cui awarded Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement in ECE

Cui is passionate about bringing a creative approach to power converter design and control, and educating the next generation of engineers.

Xiaofan Cui Enlarge
Xiaofan Cui

Xiaofan Cui, doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement by the College of Engineering for his outstanding achievements in research, as well as contributions in teaching and service to the department.

Cui models his approach to research after ECE alumnus Claude Shannon, the “father of information theory,” whose sculpture resides just outside the EECS Building.

“Shannon was not someone who would listen to other people about what to work on,” said Cui, who has attempted to build a new framework on the modeling and control of power converters.

Cui’s current research is building a repurposed energy storage architecture (RESA) that will reuse second-life batteries from electric vehicles (EV) for supporting the renewable energy grid, resulting in significant environmental and economic benefits.

His research goal is to build a bridge between fundamental control theory and high-performance power converters.

“Advanced power converters are rapidly reshaping the architecture of classic power systems in data centers, the microgrid, and electric utilities,” said Cui. “Lots of interdisciplinary knowledge like control, optimization, and artificial intelligence are magically interacting in this exciting area.”

Cui has taught the sophomore level course, Introduction to Signals and Systems, and assisted the college as well as department in their respective recruiting efforts. One of the students he mentored in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program published two top-tier conference papers while under his supervision.

As a graduate student, he already has nine publications, with several more in the works, including two patents. He has another published patent that he worked on as an undergraduate student at Tsinghua University in China.

In addition to a PHD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cui is working on a master’s degree in Mathematics, and a Certificate in Data Science. He is advised by Prof. Al Avestruz.