Professor of Mathematics, Head of Mathematical Sciences Department
School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences
Professor Jiling Cao taught himself mathematics under the light of an oil lamp in a poor village near Nanyang (a prefectural-level city) in China. He was inspired to study maths when he was about 11 or 12 to take after the national hero at that time - Jingrun Chen (陈景润), a top mathematician. He borrowed his teacher’s reference books and began studying each night. Maths quickly became his life. He completed his undergraduate studies in China then moved to Auckland to complete his doctorate.
Professor Cao was the recipient of the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in the Faculty of Science in 1998-1999, The University of Auckland. He held a JSPS research fellowship at Ehime University from 2000 to 2002, and a New Zealand Science and Technology research fellowship at The University of Auckland from 2002 to 2005.
In June 2006, Professor Cao came to AUT. When he started, the undergraduate mathematical sciences programme had just five students. Now there are 175, with a fairly even gender split.
He stresses to his students that most of the things that make life easy are because of maths, and there will be no technological advancements if people stop training in the field. He says the problem-solving skills that come with learning mathematics makes graduates highly sought-after in industry.
Professor Cao's extended academic profile