Woodward Yang

Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and HBS University Fellow


Woodward Yang is the Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Harvard University in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science and HBS University Fellow.  Dr. Yang’s technical background includes semiconductor device physics, material science, microelectronic fabrication technology, circuit design, computer architecture, signal processing systems, and algorithms.  Some of his early technical work included the development and successful commercialization of two disruptive technologies, CMOS image sensors and specialized hybrid memory components which are now found in almost every cell phone and other mobile smart devices.  In addition, his other research activities involved the design and implementation of advanced DRAM components, Merged Memory Logic systems, and specialized VLSI hardware for image processing and machine learning systems including one of the first real-time face recognition systems in 1992.  For his innovative and pioneering research, he received the prestigious National Science Foundation Young Investigator and Army Young Investigator awards and was selected as IEEE Distinguished Lecturer. Dr. Yang was also the founder and CEO of a DRAM design company for many years in Korea and Taiwan which designed and manufactured special purpose memory products.
After working extensively with industry, founding a startup company, and running an international business, Dr. Yang was appointed the first HBS University Fellow in 2008 where he  extended his research activities to include exploring and understanding the impact of technology and business-government relationships on industries and economies. In collaboration with Clayton Christensen at the Harvard Business School, they concluded that the semiconductor industry would soon stop following Moore’s Law due to economic rather than technological limits. Over the past decade, this fact is now widely accepted in the semiconductor industry.  Dr. Yang has also testified as an expert technical witness in numerous US patent cases related to technology including the high profile Apple Inc. vs. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. case involving the design of smart phones and tablet computers.
More recently, Dr. Yang was the founding faculty director of the Harvard Master in Design Engineering which is offered collaboratively by SEAS and the Graduate School of Design.  The 2 year, post-graduate professional degree program was created to educate students on comprehensive frameworks and strategies for creating, evaluating, and harnessing innovative ideas and for solving real-world problems with highly dynamic and complex global interconnections.