Chen-Ching Liu, the American Electric Power Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, is one of 87 new members elected to the National Academy of Engineering for 2020.

Liu is being honored for his contributions to computational methods for power system restoration and cybersecurity. A faculty member of Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he serves as director of the Power and Energy Center.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to join leaders at the National Academy of Engineering and serve Virginia Tech and the country,” Liu said.

Under Liu’s leadership, the Power and Energy Center’s researchers are creating advanced technologies for their envisioned power grid of the future, the Cyber Grid, and training the next generation of power engineers in a time of unprecedented transformation for the industry. The power industry now looks to tap into innovative resources like renewable energy and microgrid, as well as advanced technologies for information, communication, control, measurement, and computing, to achieve a reliable, resilient, and secure infrastructure.

“For decades, the Power and Energy Center at Virginia Tech has been recognized as a global leader in developing new technologies for the power industry,” said Liu, who has served as the center’s director since 2018. “At a time when the industry is fast-changing, the center is taking a leadership role to significantly strengthen our capabilities for multidisciplinary research and education and develop strong collaborations with industry and government agencies.”

Liu’s major contributions to power engineering research are new methodologies and tools for handling abnormal operating conditions in energy management systems, such as power outages. His pioneering work on power system restoration in transmission and distribution systems led to the development of practical tools for the power industry in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Pacific Northwest National Lab through the Department of Energy.

Liu has 153 publications in major technical journals, 28 invited book chapters, 165 conference papers, and three edited books. As a professor, he has supervised 37 Ph.D. students and 56 master’s degree students.

“When Chen-Ching came to Virginia Tech two years ago, I soon realized that we were fortunate to have recruited not only a talented researcher and teacher, but also a great person to work with,” said Luke Lester, the Roanoke Electrical Steel Professor and head of the electrical and computer engineering department. “Dr. Liu has demonstrated that he is a skilled instructor at the national and departmental level, a dedicated and prolific mentor of graduate students, an outstanding scholar, and a strong participant in professional service. All these things, combined with his positive attitude and high energy level, make him a remarkable colleague and leader.”

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Liu was the Boeing Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Washington State University and founding director for its Energy Systems Innovation Center. He has also served as professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle; the Palmer Chair Professor at Iowa State University; and professor and acting/deputy principal of the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences at University College Dublin, Ireland.

In 1994, Liu was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He received the Presidential Young Investigator’s Award from the National Science Foundation in 1986 and the IEEE Power and Energy Society Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award in 2004. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Polytechnic University Bucharest, Romania, in 2013 and was inducted as a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2014.

Liu has served in leadership positions in several international communities of power system engineering, including as a member of the Governing Board of the IEEE Power and Energy Society, founding president of the International Council of Intelligent System Applications to Power Systems, and as chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Fellow Committee and Technical Committee on Power System Computing, Analysis, and Economics.

Liu received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1976 and 1978, respectively, followed by a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from University of California, Berkeley, in 1983.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, according to a press release issued by the organization, which also states that membership honors those who excel in their contributions to engineering research, practice, or education. New members will be formally inducted in a ceremony at the National Academy of Engineering’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4, bringing the organization’s total U.S. membership to 2,309.

Written by Suzanne Irby