Khaled Letaief

Khaled Letaief

Senior Advisor to the President, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
BSEE 1984, MSEE 1986, PhD ECE 1990

For his preeminence in the field of computer science and engineering, leading to impactful technical contributions to wireless technologies involving 4G cellular systems and other advanced wireless networks.

Since leaving Purdue with his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, Khaled Letaief has carved out a decorated career in academia, the majority of it spent at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). An expert in wireless communication and networking, he currently is the New Bright Professor of Engineering, chair professor of electronic and computer engineering, and senior advisor to the president. His HKUST duties commenced in 1993, when he started as an assistant professor and quickly rose through the ranks. He has held many administrative positions, including dean of engineering, acting provost, head of the Electronic and Computer Engineering Department, director of the Wireless IC Design Center, and director of the Hong Kong Telecom Institute of Information Technology.

Letaief credits his Purdue Engineering professors for inspiring his journey toward becoming a dedicated scholar.

“What I cherish most about my time at Purdue goes beyond the academic rigor. It is the invaluable lessons I learned from the faculty about research integrity, which have shaped my approach to scholarly endeavors. I have been fortunate to witness firsthand the unwavering commitment to honesty, objectivity, and openness demonstrated by the faculty.”

Already a member of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences, Letaief was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2021. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), in which he has held dozens of leadership appointments and editorships, including President of the IEEE Communications Society, as well as earned the IEEE Edwin Howard Armstrong Achievement Award and the IEEE Marconi Award in Wireless Communications, and provided six technical contributions to IEEE standards.

Letaief has given over 50 keynote and plenary talks around the world, written 700 papers with more than 51,500 citations, achieved an h-index of 100, and holds 15 patents — including 11 U.S. inventions. In 2020, he was named an AI 2000 Internet of Things Most Influential Scholar, and in 2019, received HKUST School of Engineering’s Distinguished Research Excellence Award, which is bestowed only once every three years. In 2022, the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his revolutionary work on multiuser orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), 6G, and machine learning in wireless communications.

With all of Letaief’s success, it’s hard to imagine a time when he didn’t exude confidence, but he can remember being an overwhelmed student who questioned his ability to excel in electrical engineering.

“I felt a sense of self-doubt creeping in,” he said. “However, during a hands-on lab session, everything changed. As I meticulously connected wires, calibrated instruments, and observed the system come to life, something within me clicked. In that moment, I realized that electrical engineering was not just a field of abstract theory and equations, but a realm of practical application and tangible impact.”

Today, he enthusiastically heralds his alma mater’s core values. “Purdue is renowned for its cutting-edge research and emphasis on innovation,” he said. “This exposure fosters a spirit of curiosity, critical thinking, and problem solving that sets Purdue Engineering graduates apart in their professional endeavors.”

Career Highlights

2023–present Senior Advisor to the President, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
2019–present New Bright Professor of Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)
2005–present Chair Professor, Electronic and Computer Engineering, HKUST
2001–2005 Professor, Electronic and Computer Engineering, HKUST
1996–2000 Associate Professor, Electronic and Computer Engineering, HKUST
1993–1996 Assistant Professor, Electronic and Computer Engineering, HKUST
1990–1993 Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia


1984 BS Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
1986 MS Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
1990 PhD Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University
2022 Honorary Doctorate, University of Johannesburg, South Africa