Sandia Labs News Releases

Asian American Engineer of the Year goes to Sandia Labs computer scientist

Tian Ma adds to his slate of accolades, patents, published papers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tian Ma, a distinguished computer engineer in research and development at Sandia National Laboratories, has been honored as a 2023 Asian American Engineer of the Year by the Chinese Institute of Engineers-USA. Each year, CIE recognizes exceptional Asian American engineers who demonstrate strong technical skills, leadership abilities and a commitment to public service. Previous recipients of this award include Nobel laureates and astronauts.


Distinguished Sandia National Laboratories research and development computer engineer Tian Ma named 2023 Asian American Engineer of the Year Award. (Photo by Craig Fritz) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Ma’s expertise in data analysis and processing has propelled him to national recognition as an expert in detection algorithms and tracking systems. His journey began in 2003 when he joined a Sandia Labs university fellowship program, ultimately earning engineering master’s and doctorate degrees. These qualifications have significantly sharpened his focus on areas such as computer vision, data analytics and fusion, remote sensing and decision science.

The AAEOY award acknowledges Ma’s significant contributions to remote-sensing systems, where his pioneering data processing algorithms play a pivotal role in detecting and tracking objects of interest critical to national security missions.

In addition to this latest honor, Ma was previously awarded CIE’s Asian American Most Promising Engineer of the Year in 2016 and received the 2020 Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers Professional Achievement Award. With numerous U.S. patents to his name and a substantial body of published work in peer-reviewed journals, Ma has a well-established record of achievement.

Despite his impressive track record, Ma is particularly pleased about this year’s accolade.

“This is a very prestigious award and a nationally recognized achievement,” Ma said. “Receiving this award is very significant and a huge honor.”

Beyond his professional pursuits, Ma actively mentors students and colleagues in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He is a founding member and serves on the board of directors for the New Mexico Future City Competition, a local STEM competition for middle school students that has experienced remarkable growth over the years. With more than 20 institutions, 40 teams and hundreds of participants annually, Ma’s dedication to coaching and guiding other Asian minority students and engineers extends beyond Sandia Labs.

“I want to help people with diverse backgrounds and cultures connect so that we all have a community to lean on,” Ma said. “My family relocated to the U.S. from China when I was just 11, and I didn’t speak the language or understand the culture at that time. What I’ve learned over the years is that people from different cultures often share similar values, hopes and dreams for themselves and their families. I strive to build bridges that connect people to their neighbors and communities, while supporting their professional passions.”

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

Sandia news media contact: Luke Frank,, 505-377-5620