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New generation of photonic simulation with hardware accelerated FDTD and automatic differentiation


Professor Zongfu Yu

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Wisconsin


Date & Time

Monday, 8 January 2024

6:00 am


Room 7-34 / 7-35, Haking Wong Building HKU


Future research and development will increasingly rely on computer simulation technology. In the field of optics and photonics, a new generation of hardware and software technology is making electromagnetic simulation more powerful than ever. Three application examples will be discussed, including the training of photonic neuromorphic computing media, validation of the Nobel Prize-winning theory of Anderson localization, and optimization of radiative cooling coatings. These powerful simulations are enabled by three technologies, including 1. Fast Compute: Hardware-accelerated finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation; 2. Fast Gradient: Automatic differentiation for gradient-based optimization. 3. Fast Resource: Elastic computing provided by the cloud.


Zongfu Yu is a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In the field of optics, he has authored and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers with a total citation over 20,000 and an h-index over 70. He is named as a Global Highly Cited Researcher in the past 5 years. He is a Fellow of OSA (the Optical Society), a recipient of DARPA Young Faculty Award, and NSF CAREER Award. He received his Ph.D. in applied physics and M.S. in management science and engineering, both from Stanford University, and a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China.


Research Areas:

Contact for


Prof. X.B. Yin

3910 2659

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