Tech it forward

Dr Tang Jing scored an academic breakthrough after pursuing a doctorate at NTU’s Interdisciplinary Graduate School

Dr Tang's biggest challenge was getting his research results published in well-regarded journals.
Dr Tang's biggest challenge was getting his research results published in well-regarded journals. PHOTO: NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY-INTERDISCIPLINARY GRADUATE SCHOOL

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in computer science and technology at the University of Science and Technology of China, Dr Tang Jing decided to pursue a doctorate.

The 28-year-old — a scholar from Nanyang Technological University’s Interdisciplinary Graduate School (IGS) — wanted to deepen his knowledge and conduct research on the subject.

Says Dr Tang: “I was curious about new technology and science. Since I am also innovative and creative by nature, I thought a research job would best suit my personality.”

After noting that research is increasingly becoming more complex and requires more interdisciplinary knowledge, he felt that IGS would be the right place to make new breakthroughs in research.

Delving into online social networks

The IGS MAGIC (or Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre) alumnus graduated from the four-year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme last year.

His thesis explored the usage of data management and analytics for large-scale online social networks.

Dr Tang explains: “Social networks attract billions of users, who spend a lot of time on social networks every day. Thus, there are many opportunities and challenges in this domain.

“Viral marketing is one example of a typical application in social networks. My work attempts to find the best strategy for conducting viral marketing campaigns.”

The biggest challenge Dr Tang faced was getting his research results published in well-regarded conferences or journals.

After being rejected almost 30 times, he experienced his proudest moment when his first published paper won the Best Paper Award in a top-tier computer conference in 2014.

So far, nine of his papers have been published in such computer conferences or journals. He has also attended two overseas conferences and one local conference, where he exchanged ideas with well-known scholars in his field.

The PhD programme has been instrumental in Dr Tang’s personal and professional development.

Currently a research assistant professor at the National University of Singapore’s engineering faculty, he is working towards a tenured professorship.

“I’m trying to open start-ups using my experience and knowledge. I think it’s important to apply our knowledge to real products in industries,” says Dr Tang.

“Most importantly, the knowledge, research attitudes and skills for acquiring new technology I learnt from this programme will stay with me for life.”