Lingnan University appoints AI expert Prof Xin Yao as Vice-President (Research and Innovation)

12 Jan 2024

Lingnan University appoints Prof Xin Yao as Vice-President (Research and Innovation).

Lingnan University appoints Prof Xin Yao as Vice-President (Research and Innovation).

The Council of Lingnan University approved the Search Committee’s recommendation to appoint Prof Xin Yao as Vice-President (Research and Innovation) and concurrently Tong Tin Sun Chair Professor of Machine Learning, effective from 22 January 2024, for a term of five years. Prof Yao is also appointed as Tong Tin Sun Chair Professor of Machine Learning and will oversee and steer the development of research, innovation and knowledge transfer at the University, and provide leadership for the research institutes and centres with the Associate Vice-President (Strategic Research). He will oversee the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer directly.


Prof Yao said “I am deeply honoured to have this opportunity to assume the role of Vice-President (Research and Innovation) at Lingnan, playing a contributing role for the development of the University. Moving forward, I will dedicate myself to transferring Lingnan's outstanding research achievements into tangible impacts that benefit the wider society. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies to address various social challenges, I aim to elevate Lingnan's global influence in research. With the core spirit of Lingnan’s liberal arts education, I will collaborate with the Lingnan community to nurture the next generation of talent in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), affirming Lingnan’s motto: Education for Service.”


Prof Xin Yao is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of AI. Recognised for his outstanding contributions to evolutionary computation, intelligent optimisation, machine learning, and AI, he was elected as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in the class of 2003. In 2000, Prof Yao was the first Chinese recipient of the IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award, and he was Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation from 2003 to 2008, as well as an associate editor for seven other prestigious international journals. He was also the President of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society from 2014 to 2015. Prof Yao has been one of Stanford University World's Top 2% Scientists since 2021, and is on the 2022 and 2023 lists of Highly Cited Researchers. According to Google Scholar, his research studies have been cited over 74,000 times by other scholars, with an H-index of 122.


Prof Yao obtained his bachelor's degree in computer science and technology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1982. Three years later, he earned his Master's degree in computer science and technology at the North China Institute of Computing Technology, and then received his PhD in computer science and technology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1990. Between 1992 and 1999 he was a lecturer, senior lecturer, and associate professor at the School of Computer Science at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of New South Wales, and from 1999 to 2016, he was a Chair Professor of the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham in the UK. From 2016 until joining Lingnan University, Prof Yao was the Chair Professor and Head of Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China, and a part-time Professor of Computer Science in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. 


Congratulating Prof Yao on his new appointment, Mr Andrew Yao Cho-fai, Council Chairman of Lingnan University, said "Prof Yao is the first Lingnan-60 Global Talent hire launched recently at Lingnan. We aim to recruit over 60 outstanding scholars from around the globe to join the University. Interdisciplinary areas will be focused on that would spearhead a digitalised future for the University’s teaching and research capabilities. Key areas include Art and Technology, Metaverse and Humanities, Digital Humanities, Financial Technology, Financial Sustainability, Social Media Marketing, Human-AI Interactions, ESG and Disclosure in the Digital Era, Business Analytics and Technology, and Mental Health and Wellbeing, etc. I look forward with great enthusiasm to welcoming Prof Yao to the Lingnan family."


Prof S. Joe Qin, President and Wai Kee Kau Chair Professor of Data Science of Lingnan University, also welcomed Prof Yao warmly, saying "Lingnan is committed to integrating the arts and sciences in today’s technology age, positioning the entire Lingnan community at the forefront of digital innovation, and establishing itself firmly as a leading research-intensive liberal arts university in the new era. Talent is a crucial engine for research and innovation, and Lingnan looks forward to attracting more globally renowned scholars. With Prof Yao's passion for teaching and outstanding achievements in the field of AI, we believe that his contribution to integrating AI with liberal arts education will elevate Lingnan to the status of a world-class liberal arts research institution in the digital era."