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, and intelligent task assistants)
to help people manage and exploit large amounts of data (i.e., "big data"), especially text data.
I am particularly interested in building such intelligent systems for improving health, medical care, education, and accelerating scientific discovery, and bulding them based on theoretically sound frameworks, models, and algorithms that are also effective empirically. My current interests include Intelligent Information Retrieval, Text Data Mining, Applied Machine Learning, Optimization of Human-Computer Collaboration, Biomedical and Health Informatics, and Intelligent Educational Systems. For a more detailed view of my research interests, you may want to take
a look at the slides of some of my recent talks.
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
- ACM SIGIR Gerard Salton Award (2021)
- ACM SIGIR Academy (2021); ACM Fellow (2017); ACM Distinguished Scientist (2009)
- Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2004, Nominated by NSF based on NSF Career Award)
- Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship Award (2008)
- ACM SIGIR Test of Time Paper Award (three times, for work on Subtopic Retrieval and Diversity in IR (SIGIR 2003 paper), Smoothing Methods for IR (SIGIR 2002 paper), and Bayesian decision-theoretic framework for IR (SIGIR 2002 paper)).
- Rose Award for Teaching Excellence (2010, College of Engineering, UIUC)
- UIUC Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring (2016)
UIUC List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students (
Fall 2002, Spring 2005,
Fall 2006, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2018)
- IBM Faculty Award (2009)
- HP Innovation Research Award (2011-2012)
- Editor (Americas)}, Information Retrieval Book Series, Springer (June 2014- present); Associate Editor, BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making (March 2016 - present); Associate Editor, ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data (Oct. 2017-). Previously, Associate Editor, ACM Transactions on Information Systems (2006-2014), Information Processing and Management (2010-2016); Editorial Board,
- Program Co-Chair: WWW 2015,
ACM SIGIR 2009,
NAACL HLT 2007,
ACM CIKM 2004
- Conference Co-Chair: ACM WSDM 2018, ACM CIKM 2016