New Faculty Member, 2021-22
Assistant Professor, Materials science and engineering
What do you get when you combine machine learning and materials science? For Qijun Hong, you find the material with the world’s highest melting temperature and more.
Hong, who joins the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering faculty this fall, computationally predicted a material with the right combination of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon would have a melting temperature of more than 7,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Experiments later confirmed his prediction developed with a colleague at Brown University.
He has also used his machine learning skills to build a highly ranked COVID-19 forecast model to predict the numbers of future U.S. pandemic cases and deaths.
Hong is inspired by the predictive power of computation, particularly the use of computers to accelerate and facilitate materials design and discovery, automation and machine learning.
His research focus includes developing novel methods of exploration into heat-related aspects of materials and molecular dynamics simulations with applications in material analysis and discovery.
Before joining Arizona State University, Hong worked in industry as a machine learning scientist at Amazon in Seattle. He is now excited to conduct research with long-lasting impacts with his new colleagues in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of the seven Fulton Schools.
This fall he is teaching the undergraduate materials science and engineering course MSE 457: Quantum Mechanics: Atoms and Solids.
“My students should be prepared to explore real-world applications and bring their ideas to apply quantum mechanics to the materials of their interests,” Hong says.
Hong is also active outside of the engineering community. He could often be found outside jogging and cycling after work when he was a senior research scientist at Brown University in Rhode Island.
“I ran a Cape Cod marathon and I once biked 80 miles in one day from Providence to Newport and back,” Hong says.
He thinks Tempe is the perfect place to continue engaging in these activities — once summer in the desert is over.