Internship: We have an opening for a 6-month paid research internship during the Summer and Fall of 2024. I am looking for someone with a strong background in both mathematics and algorithms. Feel free to email me (see below for details).

There are currently no openings of any kind for PhD/MPhil in our group and we are not accepting new members, even through HKPFS. The information below is thus not applicable at the moment. This page will be updated as soon as there are new vacancies.

PhD and MPhil Students (Full-time)

Announcement: Please do not write to me if you are a self-funded MPhil/PhD student or have funding from your country's government. All admission decisions are purely based on merit and funding is not a consideration. If you have external funding, only mention it to me after you receive an offer. Otherwise, I will automatically reject your application.

If you are interested in doing a Computer Science or Mathematics MPhil or PhD under my supervision, please send me an application email including your CV, unofficial transcripts, and links to competitive programming profiles (if any). Be patient after sending the email. I often receive hundreds of emails per day and it will take me a while to reply, but I will eventually reply.

Funding. PhD students at HKUST can either be funded by the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) or directly by their future research group. MPhil students are always funded by the group. Vacancies for MPhil and non-HKPFS PhD positions in our group are always advertised on this website. We currently accept non-HKPFS applications for MPhil/PhD in Mathematics only. HKPFS is a separate annual process. If you plan to join our group via HKPFS, you should (i) send me your application email at least 3 months in advance, i.e. 3 months before the HKPFS deadline, and (ii) apply for early admission (only applicable to CSE applicants).

Process. The internal selection process for postgraduate students is identical no matter the degree or funding scheme to which they apply. In the first step, I check whether your application seems promising. This is a simple check and your application passes if you satisfy any of the following conditions:

All candidates who pass the first stage will be interviewed. In the technical interview, you will be given a few algorithmic, programming or mathematical problems (depending on your background) and have to solve them within 1.5-2 hours. This is similar to SWE interviews at companies such as Google or Meta. The problems usually have 8-10 levels of difficulty and I keep track of how many levels you can successfully handle. Candidates who solve the most problems will be offered MPhil/PhD positions and nominated to HKPFS.

Success Rate. In the past years, the interview process has had a success rate of 1.9% (number of offers/number of interviewees).

Commitment to Equality. I am committed to maintain a recruitment policy that is fully meritocratic and offers equal opportunities to all candidates. As a direct result, our team is currently the most international research group in Hong Kong. If your CV does not look impressive at the first glance or you do not come from a brand-name university, do not hesitate to apply to our group. The process outlined above is designed to ensure fairness to all candidates. I do not recruit students solely based on their GPA, CV, former university, standardized test scores or recommendation letters, precisely because such metrics often fail to adequately capture the abilities of many top candidates. In our group, if you can solve problems, you will be given a fair chance to show it in an interview and then be offered a PhD/MPhil position. This is irrespective of your educational background, gender, where you come from, or anything other than mathematical and computing talent.    

Dual-degree Programs. If you are a student at one of the universities that have a dual-degree agreement with HKUST, or if you are interested in such an arrangement for your MPhil/PhD and have a co-supervisor in mind from the other university, then feel free to write an email to me. I would generally be happy to co-supervise students from Sharif, Toronto, Waterloo, Centrale Supélec, POLIMI, Seoul, EPFL and KAIST and am also open to students from other partner universities.  

PhD and MPhil Students (Part-time)

I am a strong advocate of flexible and life-long education and believe that a job or family commitments should not be barriers to furthering one's education. I personally have quite some experience with such degrees since I currently study law part-time. I also used to study math part-time while I was doing my PhD in Computer Science. As such, I am familiar with the challenges and needs of part-time students. I also understand very well how impressive it is to successfully do an MPhil/PhD while having the extra pressures of a full-time job. Therefore, I am happy to offer admission to part-time postgraduate students. This being said, the following points should be thoroughly considered:

Postdoctoral Researchers

Recurring Openings: Postdocs can join our group using the RGC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme (PDFS). This is a Hong Kong-wide annual program that awards 3-year positions with generous funding. If you are interested in joining our group via this route, please get in touch with me several months before the deadline.

Final-year Thesis (FYT) and Final-year Project (FYP)

Our FYT/FYP program is only open to HKUST undergraduates. If you are an undergraduate student/team of students in either mathematics or computing and wish to do an FYT/FYP in our group, please write to me at least 3 months before the internal deadline to discuss the possibilities and potential topics. I accept FYT/FYP applications only if you have a strong algorithmic and mathematical background. At a minimum, I would expect to see a grade of A/A+ in COMP3711(H) or COMP5711.


HKUST has an internship program that is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in universities around the world.  These are usually 3-month paid positions over one academic semester or the summer. Normally, our group recruits 8-10 interns per year. If you are interested, send me an email with your CV and transcripts. We have the same interview procedure for interns and PhD students (see above). The bar for an internship is quite high. Undergraduate applicants should normally either have an IOI/IMO/ICPC/IMC medal or be at the top of their class with strong performance (A+) in algorithmic and mathematical courses. Graduate applicants are expected to have demonstrated research ability in theoretical computer science. The internship admission rate in our group is less than 1% (number of offers/number of applicants).

Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) 

The UROP program is open only to HKUST undergraduates. If you are doing your UG studies in either computing or math, you can write to me for a UROP. Please ensure that you contact me at least 3 months before the expected starting date of your UROP. I only accept UROP applicants who have a strong background in both mathematics and algorithms. I would normally expect to see a grade of A/A+ in COMP 3711(H) or COMP5711 and an ability to commit to a UROP project for more than a year.