2005 Distinguished Achievement Award: Yongmin Kim

// Electrical & Computer Engineering

Tags: alumni, ECE E-Day, Engineers' Day, Yongmin Kim

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Yongmin Kim
Professor & Chair, Department of Bioengineering
Professor, Electrical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Radiology & Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
PhDECE ’82, MSECE ’79
Seattle, WA

For Yongmin Kim, it’s highly satisfying to see the technologies he and his students have developed, including low-cost computer chips and faster, less expensive ultrasound machines, implemented in clinical environments and making a difference in the quality of patients’ diagnoses and care. Even more rewarding, he says, is watching the students he has trained graduate with maturity and readiness to contribute to society.

A professor of bioengineering and electrical engineering and chair of bioengineering at the University of Washington, Kim earned his bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering in 1975 from Seoul National University and his master’s and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from UW-Madison in 1979 and 1982, respectively.

As a child, he became interested in using engineering technologies to improve the quality of people’s lives — and when he arrived at UW-Madison, he found a number of engineering faculty members working on biomedical engineering problems. He says the decision to apply his electrical engineering background in that way was easy — thanks in part to the training and mentoring he received from now-Biomedical Engineering Professors Willis Tompkins and John Webster.

Today, Kim is an internationally renowned scholar and innovator in high-performance programmable-processor architecture, image processing, and systems for multimedia and medical imaging. He regularly transforms basic research into state-of-the-art products, including Hitachi’s MAP processor and two Texas Instruments multimedia video processor chips that can simultaneously handle both moving television images and CD-quality audio signals. His research has resulted in 23 commercial licenses and more than 70 patents or patents pending.

He is president of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and of IEEE. Among Kim’s research grants are $10 million in Whitaker Foundation funding for bioengineering in the 21st century and a $14 million National Science and Technology Board grant for the Singapore-University of Washington Alliance in Bioengineering.

He and his wife, Ellen, of 29 years, enjoy traveling throughout the United States and the world. They have three children: Janice, in her final year of medical school; Christine, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Daniel, a college freshman.