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Develop Radar, Strengthen Country ——Remember the “National University Huang Danian-style Teacher Team” of BIT

“Every day from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Mr. Mao always sits at his desk on time, even on New Year’s Day and the first day of the New Year, and This persistence has lasted a lifetime.”

Talking about the team leader and benefactor Mao Erke academician’s words and teachings, Professor Long Teng, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and teacher team of new system radar and real-time processing, feels very deeply.

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Group photo of team teachers and students

Beijing Institute of Technology’s new system radar and real-time processing teacher team, formerly known as the radar technology research laboratory of former Beijing Universty of Technology (now BIT) founded in 1964, the team has long been engaged in new system radar and real-time processing teaching and research work, focusing on the training of top innovative talents, attaching importance to the transformation of scientific research results, and actively serving the development of society. The team has been awarded the titles of “National Advanced Research Collective”, “Excellent Science and Technology Innovation Team in National Major Needs”, “Advanced Collective in National Education System”, “Second Batch of National Model Branch of Party Building Work” and so on. In 2022, the team was evaluated as the second batch of “National Huang Danian-style Teachers’ Team in Universities”.

Behind the fruitful achievements, there are generations of BIT “radar people” who have struggled hard and dared to be the first, and have been dedicated for decades.

“The country’s needs are our motivation to do research.”

“The needs of the country are the motivation for us to do research.” These are the words that academician Mao Erke of the Chinese Academy of Engineering often says, and have become the common value pursuit of several generations of team teachers and students.

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Academician Mao Erke, the leader of the new system radar and real-time processing faculty team

In the 1950s, the state decided to establish radar majors in colleges and universities. As a young student at the School of Engineering of North China University (the predecessor of BIT), 18-year-old Mao Erke entered the field of radar and began his deep cultivation for more than 70 years. In 1967, during a presentation, Mao Erke became keenly aware of the latest progress in transverse filter research in the former Soviet Union, which was of great potential value to Chinese radar research. After returning to school, he immediately started his research, opening up a whole new research direction of radar moving target processing. He has been doing this for more than ten years, failing again and again, and experimenting again and again. In 1977, the research finally succeeded, which greatly enhanced China’s detection capability in a certain field. Since then, Mao Erke led the team of teachers and students to devote themselves to science and serve the country without stopping, they kept going deeper and deeper, and continued to innovate, and the relevant research results won the second prize of national invention in 1987.

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Mao Erke guiding students to study radar system

Solving practical problems with new technologies and making technical achievements to contribute in the field of national major needs, this is the direction that Mao Erke has been leading his team to persist on the road of scientific research for dozens of years. In the 1980s, when digital circuits began to develop rapidly, Mao Erke led the radar technology research laboratory of BIT to seize new opportunities in technology and actively embrace digital technology, promoting China’s radar signal processing field from following to running and then to leading.

“If the camera is the eye of the optical satellite, then the satellite real-time processing system we developed is going to be the ‘strongest brain’ of the Chinese satellite.” As a new generation of technical backbone of the team, Chen Liang, a young teacher of Radar Technology Institute, still inherits the team’s glorious tradition of serving the country. In the second half of 2013, the remote sensing satellite carrying my country’s first on-board real-time processing system was successfully launched, enabling China’s satellite image collection to achieve a leap from “hour level” to “minute level”. What behind this is the endless efforts of the teachers and students of this team.

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Chen Liang instructing doctoral students to debug experimental equipment

“Don’t complain, do your best” has become a six-word motto engraved in Chen Liang’s heart. As a “radar man” of BIT, Chen Liang’s answer is “when we encounter a problem, we find a way to solve it”. In order to streamline the algorithm, Chen Liang led his students and teachers not only to repeatedly measure and optimize 100,000 lines of code, but also to optimize the hardware structure and even develop the chip by himself, just to make the satellite have the “strongest brain” but consume the “lowest energy”. At present, the team’s research results have become the standard configuration on satellites in the field of disaster prevention and mitigation in China.

“Keep the gate in the air for the motherland!” In July 2020, a large number of yellow-spine bamboo locusts migrated from Laos via Yunnan. The new generation of lightweight insect detection radar developed by Hu Cheng, deputy director of the Institute of Radar Technology and a young teacher in the team, accurately obtained relevant information such as the number and density of insect swarms when they entered the country, and issued early warnings to achieve advanced prevention. This high-resolution full-polarization insect detection radar can not only measure parameters such as the body length, weight, head orientation and wing flapping amplitude of a single insect in the sky at an altitude of one kilometer, but also distinguish the type of a single insect.

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Hu Cheng and his students carrying out experimental research in Yunnan

“The size of migratory insects is small and their flying ability is limited, so they have their own exclusive passages when they migrate. Most of these passages are distributed in sparsely populated and relatively desolate areas.” From the prairie to the coast of the Bohai Sea, and then to Lancang, Yunnan, they have traveled all over the country. Most insects like humidity and heat, and have phototaxis, so it has become a common practice for the team to face hundreds of thousands of insects at a high temperature of 40 degrees or in the early morning.

“Only by taking the needs of the country as our own, can we innovate without a false reputation!” For decades, the “Radar people” of BIT have written their unremitting efforts in the great rivers and mountains of the motherland and among the vast stars!

The mission of educating students, passed down from generation to generation

“Mr. Mao’s leadership has played a vital role in my growth in life. His words and deeds have helped me establish a correct outlook on life.” So far, Long Teng has always remembered the teachings of his teacher Mao Erke. Academic direction, scientific research law, social cognition, solid study style and correct path, these “five treasures” will make him useful for life.

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Long Teng guiding the students of the research group in the laboratory

“One person’s work depends on ability, a few people’s work depends on system, and most people’s work depends on culture.” In Long Teng’s view, the team’s achievements today are inseparable from the team culture created by Mr. Mao Erke, that is, not seeking fame and fortune, not admiring vanity, national needs come first, personal gains and losses come second. In such a team, how to make young talents grow into talents? Long Teng also gave the answer, that is, “diligence, logical thinking ability, solid basic knowledge and strong sense of innovation”.

“From today, you are a teacher of the Radar Institute. I hope you have the spirit of assiduous research, unswerving determination, and strive to do things well.” Ding Zegang, a young teacher in the team, still remembers the two requests that Long gave to him in the first day when he stayed in the school and joined the school. In 2002, Ding Zegang, who was a junior at Beijing Institute of Technology, listened to Longteng’s in-depth explanation of the radar major and his interpretation of the team’s family and national feelings in a professional lecture . Because of this, Ding decided to pursue radar career.

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Ding Zegang with students

“The undergraduate students in our major could get a monthly salary of 8,000 yuan once they graduated at that time.” Near the time of graduation, seeing the high paying jobs found by his classmates, Ding Zegang also fell into hesitation. At the critical moment of life decision, the care and concern of his mentor Long Teng strengthened Ding Zegang’s confidence to devote himself to science and serve his country. “Mr. Long was very meticulous, and with his support, I firmly believed in fighting for my country’s radar career for the rest of my life.” Thereafter, Ding Zegang stayed in school to continue his studies and stayed on as a teacher after his doctoral graduation. Ding Zegang, who completed the transition from student to teacher, took his gains from growing up in the team and became a new generation of practitioners of moral education.

“I want to make students understand that radar is actually not complicated in this way, both to build up their confidence in learning and to stimulate their interest in learning.”

In the practical class on introduction to radar systems, Ding Zegang would take the students to the playground to build a slide to demonstrate how radar works. In order to improve the teaching effect, Ding Zegang pioneered the integration of experimental teaching into the curriculum and moved the classroom to the actual operating environment, as the teaching period of the radar major is long, the knowledge is large and the degree of engineering is high.

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Yang Xiaopeng teaching students the professional course

“Mr. Yang’s class is highly rated, hot, and has high board content!” Among the students, team teacher Yang Xiaopeng’s class is known as the “three good” course, each time the actual number of people in the class is twice the number of limit. Not only that, Yang Xiaopeng class also has a “masterpiece” - hand counting Kramero’s Nether Formula. Every year, Yang Xiaopeng has to write 4 blackboards by hand and take students to push the formula by hand. In Yang Xiaopeng’s opinion, it helps students to have a thorough grasp of the mathematical principles behind the profession, which will help them to build a solid foundation for future scientific research.

Behind Yang Xiaopeng’s skillful teaching, he is inspired by the team’s spirit of moral education. When he first took the podium, Yang Xiaopeng studied the course four times from beginning to end in order to give a good lecture. Sometimes for a three-hour course, he had to prepare for two days, and often prepared the lesson at night until he was locked in the office. Lean preparation, in return for a lively, interesting, easy to understand explanation and a high degree of student recognition. “My goal is to make the students who have taken my class to fully understand and master the knowledge and learning methods, which in turn will help them in their future study work.”

Time goes by, and the years go by. Teachers. teach students, students grow up to be teachers, and the mission of establishing moral education is passed on from generation to generation.

“Let the university be wise and serve people’s livelihood”

“Safety is the lifeline of civil aviation! Even a small stone or a nut on the runway may become a major hidden danger that endangers the safety of the aircraft.” Whenever he talked about the design of the runway foreign object detection system, Li Yang, a teacher of the team, always had a serious and grave expression. In the field of civil aviation safety, runway object detection is a tedious and important task, and the use of radar instead of manual detection is a hot topic of research at home and abroad.

“The airport runway is a clear zone, in order to ensure the safety of aircraft takeoff and landing, any device must be kept at a height of about 30cm, and the reflection of radar waves from the ground will also cause strong interference, these are the challenges we need to overcome.” To reduce the size of the radar device and enhance signal discrimination, Li Yang and his team of teachers and students faced a real challenge.

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Airport runway foreign object detection system applied in Chengdu Tianfu International Airport

“This is not only a scientific research task in the school, but also a social responsibility that concerns people’s livelihood.” With a sense of mission, Li Yang and his students and faculty promoted the rapid iteration of the product, constantly reducing the size of the device, constantly optimizing the algorithm, and finally came up with a product that can stand the test of the market.

It is worth mentioning that, in order to better realize the transformation of innovative achievements and meet the needs of marketization, the team has also established the disciplinary company “BIT radar” to connect the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain, realizing the “industry-academia-research” process and applying the advanced technology to the products. At present, the team has developed many new radars such as slope deformation monitoring radar, airport bird detection radar and traffic warning radar, which have been widely used. “The innovative achievements in the ivory tower are really transformed into contributions to the society.

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The slope deformation monitoring radar developed by BIT Radar

“Wang Yan made radar vivid and interesting, which not only let me learn knowledge and expand my vision, but also made me think about the future development.” This was the feeling of the senior students of Beijing Bayi Middle School after listening to team teacher Wang Yan’s optional course on “Intelligent Multi-source Perception”. Since then, a number of high school students have established long-term contact with Wang Yan and expressed their desire to take BIT as their goal of study and join radar research.

In recent years, the team has responded to the call of “high school-university”, built the Intelligent Multi-source Perception Laboratory and Artificial Intelligence and Perception Innovation Laboratory with Beijing Bayi Middle School and Tianjin Nankai Middle School respectively. Through active science popularization activities, they help young students cultivate innovative literacy and root the ideal of fighting for the country in the hearts of “future scientists”.

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Wang Yan teaching an elective course to middle school students

The most concise language, the most refined knowledge, the most exquisite models and the most abundant experiments in Wang Yan’s well-designed course made the students excited to listen to the model of the “eye of the sky” telescope in Guizhou and the automatic gesture-controlled tracing and obstacle-avoidance car ....... “Our team plans to polish this course into a brand for high school students nationwide, and we are confident that we will do well.” Wang Yan is full of vision for the future.

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“Country, team, hard work, innovation”, simple and powerful 5 words, after years of sharpening, more and more shining.

The team is determined to develop radar, to strengthen the country, and to establish moral education. The story of “Radar Team” and “Radar People” of BIT is still continuing, and the electric waves in the sky will never stop.