Thomas & Margaret Huang

1930s - 2020

Our beloved Tom (Professor Thomas Shi-Tao Huang) passed away peacefully in his daughter’s care in Indiana, during the evening of April 25, 2020.

Three months ago, Tom’s wife, Margaret, left the world in peace in the company of her family; Tom was extremely sad. Two months later, Tom moved from UIUC, where he had been teaching and living for forty years, to be close to his daughter in Indiana. In the last few weeks, Tom enjoyed the company and care of his family, and he also cared about the development of his students in the distance. Three months later, Tom followed Margaret.

The day before Tom’s passing, the priest visited Tom; Tom believed he would go to heaven and meet Margaret again, so he was pleased. On the day of Tom’s passing, some of Tom and Margaret’s closest friends and students briefly connected with Tom’s family through a video call; they prayed and said goodbye to Tom. The family was planning for a future video call, for the many more people that love Tom and Margaret dearly and wish to say goodbye. But Tom left the world in peace shortly after the video call.

Tom and Margaret had a legendary and rich life. They have left the deepest impressions in the lives of many of us and have left a precious legacy for this world. They have always cared for everyone, warmly and humbly.

May Tom & Margaret rest in peace in heaven!

我们敬爱的Tom (黄煦涛先生) 于2020年4月25日夜间在印第安纳小女儿家平静去世。


去世前一天,牧师拜访了Tom;Tom相信他会去天堂和Margaret相聚,因此而欣慰。去世当天,一些Tom和Margaret最亲近的朋友和学生和Tom家人短暂视频连线,为Tom祈祷和道别。Tom家人也在筹备第二天的视频连线,让更多敬爱Tom和Margaret的朋友和校友和Tom道别。然而第一次视频连线结束后片刻,Tom已然追随Margaret 而去。



愿Tom & Margaret在天堂安息!


Thomas Huang was born in Shanghai, China, on June 26, 1936. After his family resettled in Taiwan in 1949, he attended National Taiwan University and received his B.S. in Electrical Communication in 1956. In 1958, he became the first student from National Taiwan University to be admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for graduate study. He initially worked with Professor Ernie Guillemin, then with Professor Peter Elias. He completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with Professor William F. Schreiber, in 1960 and 1963, respectively. During his graduate study, his interests gradually shifted from network theory to image coding. At that time, digital images were a new technology, and research was still in its infancy. Both his M.S. thesis “Picture statistics and linearly interpolative coding” and Ph.D. thesis “Pictorial noise” were pioneering works in the field of digital image processing.

Upon completing his Ph.D., Huang was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at MIT. He remained at MIT until 1973, when he took a position as professor of electrical engineering and director of the Information and Signal Processing Laboratory at Purdue University. In 1980, he was offered a chaired position in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He founded and led the world-renowned Image Formation and Processing (IFP) lab for forty years. He was a founding member of the UIUC Beckman Institute and an active member of the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL). He was also the long-term co-chair of the Beckman Institute's research track on Human Computer Intelligent Interaction. He became UIUC ECE’s first William L. Everitt Distinguished Professor in 1996. He was named a Swanlund Chair in 2012, the highest endowed title at UIUC. He also held honorary and visiting professor positions at dozens of universities worldwide. Dr. Huang retired from teaching in December 2014 but remained active as a research professor participating in cutting-edge research and student mentoring until April 25, 2020 when he passed away.

Huang made fundamental and profound contributions to digital image processing, video analysis, computer vision, pattern recognition, and multimedia. He coauthored 23 books and more than 1000 papers, and he is among the most cited computer scientists worldwide. Among the numerous contributions made during his lifetime, some notable ones include:

· Signal Processing: design and stability testing of multi-dimensional filters (1972); efficient median filters (1979); least-squares fitting of two 3D point sets (1987)

· Image Compression: the first to propose block transform coding (1969); fax and binary document compression (G3/G4 standards); the first to study multi-frame super-resolution (1984); wavelet coding and fractal coding; MPEG4 video coding

· Computer Vision: first to establish uniqueness results for 3D structure from motion from two frames using discrete features (1982); digital holography; fluid and non-rigid motion estimation; 3D modeling and non-rigid 3D motion analysis of human face/hand/body

· Content-based Multimedia Retrieval: helped created the field of content-based multimedia databases and content-based retrieval of images and other media

· Intelligent Human-Computer Interaction: was a pioneer in the field of multi-modal human-computer interface; gesture recognition and tracking; emotion recognition

More recently, Huang and his students have made contributions to emerging fields such as sparse representations, deep learning, and artificial intelligence, which have found interdisciplinary applications in astronomy, agriculture, medicine and finance. His research achievements have deeply affected how humans store, transmit, understand and leverage visual and multimedia data.

Thomas Huang received numerous honors and awards in his career, including: Member of the United States National Academy of Engineering (2001); Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (2001); Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2002); Member of Academia Sinica (2008); IEEE Life Fellow (1979); IAPR/OSA/SPIE Fellow. He received the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal (2001, the highest recognition in signal processing); the King-Sun Fu Prize (2002, the highest recognition in pattern recognition); the Azriel Rosenfeld Lifetime Achievement Award (2011,the highest recognition in computer vision); the Honda Lifetime Achievement Award (2000, for contribution to motion analysis); the IEEE Third Millennium Medal (2000, for contributions to imaging and image processing); the Okawa Prize (2005, for international achievement in information & telecommunication); and the ICIP Pioneer Award (2019, the highest recognition in image processing). He founded the Picture Coding Symposium (PCS) in 1969 at MIT, the first image/video coding conference; he also co-founded the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), the IEEE flagship conference on image/video processing. He and his students won multiple best paper awards (PR, ICPR, ICIP, ICDM, ICCV etc.) and many prestigious international competitions (including the 1st NIST TRECVID Challenge in 2001, the 1st ImageNet Challenge in 2010, and the 1st Nvidia AI City Challenge in 2017).

He supervised more than 120 postdocs and Ph.D. students. Among them, at least 11 Ph.D. students and 3 postdocs have been elected as IEEE Fellows. His first Ph.D. student was John Woods (graduated from MIT in 1970), now Professor Emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His last Ph.D. student, Kevin Gu, defended his thesis only two days before Dr. Huang passed away. More than 30 of his Ph.D. students and postdocs have taken faculty positions worldwide, and his academic family tree continues to grow. Others of his students have found leading roles in almost all major IT companies and startups.

Thomas Huang now rests beside his wife Margaret at Roselawn Cemetery, south of the UIUC campus where he taught and worked with his graduate students for 40 years. He is survived by his four children, Caroline, Marjorie, Thomas, and Gregory, and his six grandchildren. He remains a most beloved and noble role model, both scientifically and personally, among his students, several generations of his grand-students, and numerous friends world-wide.


黄煦涛教授 (Thomas S. Huang) 于1936年6月26日出生于上海。1949年随家庭前往台湾,1956年获得国立台湾大学电子通信学士学位。1958年,他成为有史以来第一位从台湾大学进入麻省理工学院(MIT)攻读的学生。在MIT期间,先后师从Ernie Guillemin教授, Peter Elias教授和William F. Schreiber教授,并在Schreiber教授门下获得硕士(1960)和博士(1963)学位。博士期间,他的研究兴趣从网络理论逐渐转向图像编码。其时,图像数字化采集和存储均远未成熟;其硕士论文“Picture statistics and linearly interpolative coding”和博士论文“Pictorial noise”均成为了数字图像处理的奠基性工作。

博士毕业后,黄煦涛教授于1963至1973年执教于MIT电子工程与计算机科学系。1973至1980年,迁往普渡大学(Purdue University)电子工程系任正教授,并担任信息与信号处理实验室主任。1980年,黄煦涛教授开始执教于伊利诺伊大学香槟分校(UIUC)电子与计算机工程(ECE)系;并从那时起,缔造和领导了举世闻名的图像生成与处理实验室(IFP Lab)整整四十年。黄煦涛教授是UIUC Beckman Institute的创始成员和Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL)的活跃成员,并长期担任Beckman Institute的人机智能交互学部 (track)主任。1996年,他成为UIUC ECE系首任William L. Everitt杰出讲席教授。2012年,UIUC授予他本校教授的最高荣衔:Swanlund Chair讲席教授。他同时是全球数十所大学的荣誉教授和访问教授。黄煦涛教授于2014年宣布退休,但是依然担任UIUC ECE系的研究教授,在科研前沿领导科研项目和指导学生,直至2020年4月25日晚逝世。



(2)图像处理和压缩:首次提出图像变换域编码(1969);基于预测差分量化的传真和文档压缩(G3/G4 FAX国际压缩标准);首次研究图像超分辨技术(1984);小波编码和分形编码;MPEG视频压缩;

(3)计算机视觉及应用:首次提出从二维图象序列中估计三维运动的最小解公式(1984);数字全息摄影;流体运动估计和非刚性运动估计; 人体脸部/手部/躯干的三维建模和非刚性三维运动分析;




黄煦涛教授一生荣誉等身。他是美国工程院院士(2001);中国科学院外籍院士(2002);中国工程院外籍院士(2001);台湾中央研究院院士(2008);IEEE终身会士(1979);IAPR、SPIE和OSA会士等。他曾荣获IEEE Jack S. Kilby奖章(2001,信号处理的最高荣誉),King-Sun Fu Prize (2002, 模式识别的最高荣誉),Azriel Rosenfeld Lifetime Achievement Award (2011,计算机视觉的最高荣誉),Honda Lifetime Achievement Award (2000,基于对运动分析的奠基贡献),IEEE Third Millennium Medal(2000,基于对图像生成与处理的奠基贡献),Okawa Prize (2005,信息通讯技术国际成就奖),ICIP Pioneer Award(2019, 图像处理的最高荣誉)及其余数十项奖项。他于1969年创办第一个图像/视频编码会议Picture Coding Symposium (PCS),1994年创办图像处理的旗舰会议IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP),并于九十年代初期多次担任CVPR, ICCV,ICPR和FG等重要国际会议的主席。他带领的实验室硕果累累,学生多次获得最佳论文奖(包括PR, ICPR, ICIP, ICDM, ICCV等) 和国际科研比赛第一名(包括第一届NIST TRECVID Challenge,2001,第一届ImageNet Challenge,2010,第一届Nvidia AI City Challenge,2017)。

黄煦涛教授在长达近60年的教学生涯中,可谓桃李满天下。据不完全统计,他培养的博士和博士后超过120人,其中至少11名博士生和3名博士后入选IEEE会士。根据毕业时间,其第一位博士生为John Woods教授(1970年毕业于MIT),现为伦斯勒理工学院(RPI)荣休教授;最后一位博士生为Kevin Gu, 答辩日期仅为黄教授去世前两天。他直接培养的学生中(含博士后),约三十人先后在全球各地高校任教,并进一步传承了众多学术界和工业界弟子。在工业界,他的学生遍布全球的大型公司和创业公司,担任各种重要管理和技术职位。

Tom & Margaret in 1959

Memorial Speech at Margaret’s Funeral

By Tom Huang (Tommy)

Jan 30, 2020

Years ago, the man and woman met over a slide rule. He was one of her classmates at the university in Taiwan, in charge of selling the instruments. She reserved one, even paid him some money. But when the time came, another student delivered the slide rule.

Several months passed. Then she received a letter. The young man wanted to know whether she'd like to see a movie. She was being courted by several men, including a military officer who'd seen her dance in a performance for the troops.

But the young man seemed different from the rest. Her friends checked on him. Reports came back that he was an honest man.

On the day of their date, the young man surprised her by picking her up in a rickshaw. A servant took them to the man's home. The young woman was beside herself — their first date, and he was already introducing her to his parents?

The man's mother was still asleep after a night of mahjong. The mother woke up, shocked that her son had brought a pretty girl home. She hurried to the market and then cooked a meal of crab meat and eggs.

After lunch, the young man and woman took a train from Taipei to Keelung, a port city to the northeast. They watched a movie, The Student Prince, a musical. The movie had subtitles, but the young man understood quite a bit of the English.

Leaving the theater, they wandered the nightscape of the city, walking up a hill. They talked for a long time, because they didn't know each other well. On the train ride home, the carriage kept lurching. The young woman hit her head on the compartment wall. The young man put his hand behind her head to protect her.

One morning, six decades later, the man and woman walk through the corridors of the assisted-living center. On most days, the man pushes the woman in a wheelchair. But today the woman walks, slowly but surely, with the help of a walker.

They pass a resident who clasps her hands above her head in a sign of victory. "You're walking!" the resident says. "How wonderful!"

When they return to their room, the man and woman prepare to take a nap.

But before retiring, they begin to dance. The woman still has trouble with her balance.

But they are moving together, counting 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, their steps tracing a square.

And their dance becomes an embrace.

And their embrace becomes a kiss.



Translated by Harry and Ka Yan