I have been an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Ohio State University (OSU) since Fall 2016. Prior to that, I spent half a year as a visiting scientist at the University of Washington, and received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Santa Barbara (2015) and a B.S. in EEIS from the University of Science and Technology of China (2010).

I am looking for multiple highly self-motivated Ph.D. students and Postdocs. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in data mining, and machine learning with emphasis on text mining and understanding, network analysis, and human behavior understanding. Particularly, my research projects focus on: (1) Machine intelligent question answering (QA) based on various sources, such as knowledge bases, texts, and tables; (2) Human collaborative QA: expert behavior understanding and expertise mining; (3) Knowledge discovery from texts and networks.





  • 11/2017: We are thrilled and thankful for receiving a PCORI grant (01/2018-12/2020, $1,060,000 (total) & $483,001 (my part)), in collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Dr. Simon Lin, PI, primary contact).
  • 09/2017: We are very excited and grateful for receiving an ARO grant (Single PI, 2017-2020, $498,526) for our research.
  • 03/2017: We received a gift grant from Fujitsu Laboratories of America (Single PI, 2017-2018, $50,000). Thanks, Fujitsu!


  • 12/2017: Work by Ziyu Yao on mining large-scale high-quality <natural language question, code snippet> pairs got accepted in WWW 2018. This is our very first work along the research line to facilitate Computer Science for All. Please check our datasets, code, and paper here!
  • 06/2017: Work by Jie Zhao on answer triggering got accepted in EMNLP 2017. Code is now available here. Please let Jie or me know if you have any suggestions!
  • 01/2017: Got tired of simple question answering? Try out our characteristic-rich question set! Any suggestions are welcome. ;)
  • 12/2016: Our paper "Reliable Medical Diagnosis from Crowdsourcing: Discover Trustworthy Answers from Non-Experts" was accepted in WSDM 2017
  • 09/2016: Our paper "An Augmented LSTM Framework to Construct Medical Self-diagnosis Android" was accepted in ICDM 2016
  • 07/2016: Our paper "On Generating Characteristic-rich Question Sets for QA Evaluation" was accepted in EMNLP 2016


  • 03/2018: Ziyu Yao will intern at Microsoft Research, Redmond this coming summer to work on Reinforcement Learning + NLP Congratulations!
  • 11/2017: Ziyu Yao’s summer internship experience at Fujitsu Laboratories of America was reported by OSU TDAI.
  • 01/2017: I am on the program committee of SIGKDD 2017, ACL 2017, EMNLP 2017, CIKM 2017 (senior PC), IJCAI-BOOM 2017 (Please consider submitting to BOOM)
  • 07/2016: Received SIGKDD 2016 Ph.D. Dissertation Runner Up Award


Many thanks to PCORI, ARO, Fujitsu Laboratories of America, and Ohio Supercomputer Center for their generous support of our research.

Last updated: 12/2017