Biography of Chih-Lin I

5G is transforming the landscape of wireless communication, and Chih-Lin I is one of the authorities driving the transformation. As China Mobile’s chief scientist, she is one of the experts helping to create a faster, greener, and healthier 5G world. She delivers many keynote speeches on the topic and will be speaking at the fully virtual 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF’20) in September. 

5GWF’20 is the flagship event of the IEEE Future Networks Initiative. It brings masterminds in academia, research, and industry together to exchange ideas and demonstrate progress. Attendees and presenters share best practices, lessons learned, new innovations, and product advancements. It is an opportunity to network with engaged peers and learn what’s coming for 5G. 

Background in telecommunications and engineering

Chih-Lin I received her PhD degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She is a key influencer in the field with an extensive computer science bibliography. 

Early successes

Her postcollegiate career began at AT&T Bell Labs in New Jersey. She served as a principal research member for eight years, then became a director of wireless technologies at AT&T headquarters.

In 2002, she joined the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan as a director. Three years later, she became vice president and group director of the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute. She is now a chief scientist for wireless technologies at China Mobile and currently leads the company’s major initiatives in 5G technologies. 

Notable achievements

Chih-Lin I is a recipient of many awards, including the IEEE Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize and the 2015 Industrial Innovation Award of the IEEE Communication Society for Leadership and Innovation in Next-Generation Cellular Wireless Networks. She is also a winner of China’s National Thousand Talents Program, which celebrates promising leaders in scientific research interests and breakthroughs.


Chih-Lin I is a respected authority in electrical engineering. At China Mobile, she spearheads major initiatives, including the Green Communications Research Center, which she established, and the research and development of key 5G technologies. She favors a “green” and “soft” 5G network, meaning one that is environmentally friendly and relies on virtualized and centralized computing, storage, and radio resources.

Topics covered

For IEEE Communications Magazine, she has contributed to several papers between 2014 and 2020. Many address 5G’s impact on a green future. Other areas of focus include cloud radio access network (C-RAN), first introduced in 2010, and high energy efficiency system architectures. 

Current concentration

Chih-Lin I’s concentration is improving the 5G universe and its impact on the ecosystem. In keeping with these aims, she has shared her knowledge at many networking and engineering conferences. For example, many of her regularly cited papers explore 5G’s impact and influence on the ecosystem. 

Research publications

Chih-Lin I has worked closely with fellow engineering leaders. They include professors, other IEEE members, employees of her alma mater company Bell Labs, and Nokia.


In addition to IEEE publications, she has collaborated with other notable researchers on many research papers for other events and publications. Other specialists and researchers have cited her published research nearly 10,000 times since 2015, according to her Google Scholar profile. She has worked with electrical engineering experts at Tsinghua University, a major research school in Beijing. Some names include Linglong Dai, Xinyu Gao, and Ender Ayanoglu.

Cited works

Her most cited work is the 2015 article “Non-orthogonal Multiple Access for 5G: Solutions, Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Research Trends.” Researchers have cited it more than 1,200 times. 

In addition, researchers have cited her 2017 article “Application of Non-orthogonal Multiple Access in LTE and 5G Networks” nearly 1,000 times. She presented the article “Data Driven Smart Load Balancing in Wireless Networks” at the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Communications Workshops.

Current work and position

Chih-Lin I has been a chief scientist at China Mobile since 2011. She continues to be a major voice in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), particularly in technology and engineering, as well as the evolving 5G network.

The 5G revolution 

In April 2020, she coauthored a paper for Nature Electronics called “Energy-Efficient 5G for a Greener Future.” It explores the increase of mobile traffic and its demand on energy efficiency in a 5G world. 

According to IEEE, “5G is not only evolutionary, providing higher bandwidth and lower latency than current-generation technology; more importantly, 5G is revolutionary, in that it is expected to enable fundamentally new applications with much more stringent requirements in latency and bandwidth.” 

In one lecture at the 2018 5G World Forum, Chih-Lin I said that the 5G evolution is a “soul-searching journey of our collective ecosystem.” Her present-day focus continues to be on creating a cleaner, greener world as 5G technology evolves.

The future of STEM

Chih-Lin I is not just a respected voice in her industry. She is also a model for the future generation of female engineers. The “IEEE Region 8 Women in Engineering” Facebook group shared a 2019 video interview with Chih-Lin I, where she answered the question, What do you think about women in STEM? 

“Women have the same ability as men. There is no difference in our intelligence, in our ability. Actually, some even say that women in general have not only as high an IQ as men but also probably on average a higher EQ. And the two together actually make us, if not more capable, certainly equally capable of succeeding and finding fulfillment in STEM.”

Interested in becoming an IEEE member? Joining this community of more than 420,000 technology and engineering professionals will give you access to the resources and opportunities you need to keep on top of changes in technology, as well as help you get involved in standards development, network with other professionals in your local area or within a specific technical interest, mentor the next generation of engineers and technologists, and so much more.

Program Links

Email Subscription

Our Patrons


Title Patron






Knowledge Partners



FNI Roadmap