ChengXiang Zhai is a Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering of Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where
he also holds a joint appointment at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, Department of Statistics, and the
School of Information Sciences.
He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Nanjing University
in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Language and Information Technologies
from Carnegie Mellon University in 2002. He worked at Clairvoyance
Corp. as a Research Scientist and a Senior Research
Scientist from 1997 to 2000. His research interests are in the general area of intelligent information systems, including specifically information retrieval, data mining, natural language processing, machine
learning, and their applications in domains such as biomedical informatics, and intelligent education systems. He has published over 300 papers in these areas with a Google Scholar h-index of 73 and holds 5 patents.
He offers two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Coursera covering Text Retrieval and Search Engines and Text Mining and Analytics, respectively, and is a key contributor of the Lemur text retrieval and mining toolkit.
He is America Editor of the Springer Information Retrieval Book Series and a Senior Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology.
Previously, he served as an Associate Editor of journals in multiple areas including,
ACM Transactions on Information Systems, Information Processing and Management, BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, and ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, and on the editorial board of
Information Retrieval Journal. He is a program co-chair
of ACM CIKM 2004,
NAACL HLT 2007, ACM SIGIR 2009,
ECIR 2014, WWW 2015, and ICTIR 2015. He is a general conference co-chair of CIKM 2016, WSDM 2018, and IEEE BigData 2020.
He is an ACM Fellow and a member of the ACM SIGIR Academy, and received a number of awards, including ACM SIGIR Gerard Salton Award, multiple best paper awards such as the ACM SIGIR 2004 Best Paper Award, and the ACM SIGIR Test of Time Award (three times),
2004 Presidential Early Career Award for
Scientists and Engineers (PECASE),
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, multiple research awards from industry (IBM Faculty Award, HP Innovation Research Award, Microsoft Beyond Search Research Award , and Yahoo Faculty Research Engagement Program Award), UIUC Rose Award for Teaching Excellence, and UIUC Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring. He has graduated 36 PhD students and over 50 MS students.