picture of me

ChengXiang ("Cheng") Zhai ( Short Biography)

Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering
Department of Computer Science
(Also affiliated with Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, Statistics , School of Information Sciences , and Personalized Nutrition Initiative)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 201 N. Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
Office: 2116 Siebel Center (directions)
Phone: +1-217-244-4943 Fax: +1-217-265-6494
Email: czhai AT illinois DOT edu
Assistant: Salome Liebenberg (salomel AT illinois DOT edu, +1-217-300-6487, 4301 SC)

Research Interests: My general interests are in developing all kinds of novel Intelligent Information Systems (e.g., intelligent search engines, recommender systems, text analysis engines, Chatbots, and intelligent task agents) to help people manage and exploit large amounts of data (i.e., "big data"), especially natural language text data, to augment human intelligence. I am especially interested in developing general models, theoretically sound algorithms, and systems for analyzing large amounts of data to discover latent knowledge and derive new insights from the data, and applying such general techniques to build innovative applications in specific domains such as healthcare, education, and scientific discovery, to support all kinds of user tasks. To optimize human-AI collaboration and maximize the combined intelligence of humans and AI systems, I study how to mathematically model and simulate users, how to optimize sequential decisions for an intelligent agent to interact with users to support their tasks in a personalized manner while minimizing a user's overall effort, and how to support explainable AI using human-like natural language processing. read more...

Research Group: TIMAN, DAIS

Publications & Selected Talks (Google Scholar Profile, DBLP Profile)

The Book Text Data Management: A Practical Introduction to Information Retrieval and Text Mining, ChengXiang Zhai and Sean Massung, ACM and Morgan & Claypool Publishers, July 2016. has now been translated into Chinese (see the Chinese version). The book is the main reference book for two MOOCs on Coursera that I'm teaching: (1) Text Retrieval and Search Engines ; (2) Text Mining and Analytics.

Selected Honors and Awards

Selected Services