Can Li 李燦

  • Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Award in 2023 at University of Hong Kong

About Can Li’s work

Dr Can Li is a scientist whose research addresses the limitations of digital computers in performing tasks that the human brain excels at, such as face recognition, reasoning based on vague information, and learning from experience. These tasks require algorithms that can process analogue signals at the exact location where the information is stored, which is not possible with digital computers.

To address this limitation, researchers, including Dr Li, are exploring an emerging memory device called a memristor, which can mimic the behaviour of biological synapses and neurons. Memristors allow for full analogue signal processing and can exploit the devices’ rich nonlinearity and stochasticity for much-increased computing complexity.

Dr Li’s proposed research aims to build brain-inspired circuits and systems with co-optimized algorithms and full analogue signal processing to enable more advanced artificial intelligence, which is difficult with conventional computers.


Dr Can Li is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Hong Kong. He graduated with a BSc in microelectronics from Peking University in 2009 and then was awarded an MSc in microelectronics and solid state electronics from the same university three years later, receiving a Founder Scholarship in 2011. He then moved to the University of Massachusetts, where he won a David H. Navon Scholarship in 2016 before graduating with a PhD in electrical engineering in 2018. He worked at Hewlett Packard Labs, developing AI accelerators, before relocating to Hong Kong. In 2021, he won both an Early Career Award from the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong and an Excellent Young Scientist Fund Award from the National Natural Science Foundation of China. His research work from 2024 to 2028 will be supported by a Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Award.