Aston Zhang

Department of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I am a 5th-year Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science, supervised by Prof. Carl A. Gunter and Prof. Jiawei Han. My research interests are in data mining, machine learning, optimization, and privacy. I enjoy designing practical data-driven methods and generalizing the problems and solutions with provable computational bounds.

My internships were with Google Research, Microsoft Research, Yahoo Labs, UBS, and proprietary trading. I obtained M.S. in Statistics and M.S. in Computer Science in 2015. Recently I have been studying deep learning and accelerated optimization for big data.

I am on the job market now. I plan to graduate in May 2017.

Recent publications

  • A. Zhang, L. Garcia-Pueyo, J. B. Wendt, M. Najork, and A. Broder.
    Email Category Prediction. [Paper]
    In Proceedings of the 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2017.

  • S. Yao, S. Hu, Y. Zhao, A. Zhang, and T. Abdelzaher.
    DeepSense: A Unified Deep Learning Framework for Time-Series Mobile Sensing Data Processing.
    In Proceedings of the 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2017.

  • A. Zhang, A. Goyal, R. Baeza-Yates, Y. Chang, J. Han, C. A. Gunter, and H. Deng.
    Towards Mobile Query Auto-Completion: An Efficient Mobile Application-Aware Approach. [Paper]
    In Proceedings of the 25th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2016.

  • A. Zhang and Q. Gu.
    Accelerated Stochastic Block Coordinate Descent with Optimal Sampling. [Proof of Lemmas]
    In Proceedings of the 22nd ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), 2016.

  • S. Demetriou, W. Merrill, W. Yang, A. Zhang, and C. A. Gunter.
    Free for All! Assessing User Data Exposure to Advertising Libraries on Android. [Code]
    In Proceedings of the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS), 2016.

  • R. Zhu, A. Zhang, J. Peng, and C. Zhai.
    Exploiting Temporal Divergence of Topic Distributions for Event Detection.
    In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData), 2016.

  • A. Zhang, A. Goyal, W. Kong, H. Deng, A. Dong, Y. Chang, C. A. Gunter, and J. Han.
    adaQAC: Adaptive Query Auto-Completion via Implicit Negative Feedback. [Paper] [Corporate Blog]
    In Proceedings of the 38th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR), 2015.

  • W. Kong, R. Li, J. Luo, A. Zhang, Y. Chang, and J. Allan.
    Predicting Search Intent Based on Pre-Search Context. [Paper]
    In Proceedings of the 38th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR), 2015.

  • H. Fu, A. Zhang, and X. Xie.
    Effective Social Graph De-anonymization based on Graph Structure and Descriptive Information. [Paper]
    In ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (ACM TIST), Vol. 6, No. 4, 2015.

  • A. Zhang*, X. Lu*, C. A. Gunter, D. Fabbri, D. Liebovitz, and B. Malin (*equal contribution).
    Discovering De Facto Diagnosis Specialties.
    In Proceedings of the 6th ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, and Health Informatics (ACM BCB), 2015. (Selected to receive the NSF travel fellowship)

  • A. Zhang, X. Xie, K. C.-C. Chang, C. A. Gunter, J. Han, and X. Wang.
    Privacy Risk in Anonymized Heterogeneous Information Networks. [Paper]
    In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Extending Database Technology (EDBT), 2014.

  • H. Fu, A. Zhang, and X. Xie.
    De-anonymizing Social Graphs via Node Similarity.
    In Proceedings of the 23rd International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2014.


Article by Dr. Niklas Elmqvist: Mistakes Reviewers Make
  • Program Committee:
    • ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, 2016
    • ACM WSDM Workshop on Query Understanding and Reformulation for Mobile and Web Search, 2016
    • Asia Information Retrieval Societies Conference, 2016
    • IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, 2016

  • Invited Journal Reviewer:
    • ACM Transactions on Information Systems
    • ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology
    • Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery
    • IEEE Access
    • IEEE Transactions on Big Data
    • IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
    • Journal of Computer Science and Technology
    • Neurocomputing
    • Pervasive and Mobile Computing
I am glad to review papers. If you need my help, please drop me an email.

Awards and Honors

  • Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad
  • Yee Memorial Fund Fellowship in Engineering
  • Yuki Llewellyn Award for Outstanding Asian Student Organization
  • Midwestern Star Leadership Award
  • Outstanding Asian & Asian American Graduate Student Leader Award
  • Gold Medal, Prime Minister
  • Gold Medal, Information and Communication Technologies Authority
  • Gold Medal, Tata Consultancy Services
  • National IT Youth Leader Award
  • Undergrad GPA ranking: 1/214 (B.Eng in Computer Science with Minor in Business)