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 an Associate Editor of BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making and ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data.
He served as an Associate Editor of
ACM Transactions on Information Systems, and Information Processing and Management, 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 and WSDM 2018.
He is an ACM Fellow, and received a number of awards, including 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 31 PhD students and over 40 MS students.