Biography

Dr. Chunyan Miao has been an Assistant/Associate Professor in the School of Computer Engineering (SCE) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) since 2003. She was a founding faculty member and Associate Professor at the Centre for Digital Media (CDM) which was jointly established by The University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Electronic Arts (EA) USA (a leading game company).

Dr. Miao is currently serving as the Founding Director of the Joint NTU-UBC Research Centre of Excellence in Active Living for the Elderly (LILY). LILY was set up in 2012 with a large research grant of S$26 Million awarded to Dr. Miao by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore, NTU, UBC and industry partners. LILY is one of the first research centers focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for help the elderly lead an active, healthy and dignified lifestyle.

For the past two decades, Dr. Miao has worked on new disruptive Artificial intelligence (AI) approaches and theories that synergize human intelligence, artificial intelligence and behavior data analytics (AI powered by humans). AI is experiencing a renaissance, having recently undergone a dramatic shift – from trying to invent intelligent machines towards harnessing the power of the human brain to tackle problems that cannot be solved by computers alone (AI powered by many humans).

Since 2003, Dr. Miao has received over $50 Million in research funding. She has successfully led over ten large national research projects in AI, intelligent interactive digital media, smart health, personal big data analytics and aging in place technologies. Results from Dr. Miao’s basic AI research have been used in important application areas such as technologies for graceful aging, healthy living and innovative learning. Specific high-impact real world examples include Parkinson’s disease predictive analytics, Stroke detection and rehabilitation, Citizen science for helping Dementia patients and 21st century learning behavior analytics and assessment in massive multiuser virtual worlds.

Dr. Miao is the recipient of 8 Best Conference Paper/Presentation Awards and over 20 Research Awards including awards from the top AI conferences. She has published over 200 journal and conference papers in top-tier venues. She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Information Technology and the new International Journal of Crowd Science. She is also Editor/Associate Editor of IEEE ACCESS, IEEE Journal of Internet of Things, and Web Intelligence Journal. She has served as General Chair/Program Committee Chair for several international conferences and is a frequent keynote and invited speaker at leading conferences, universities and research organizations worldwide.

Dr. Miao received a PhD degree in Computer Engineering from NTU, and was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at SFU in Canada. She was awarded a Tan Chin Tuan Fellowship for a collaborative research program in AI empowered new learning technologies at Harvard University and MIT. She has been a Visiting Professor in the Multi-agent Lab, a well-known AI research centre at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Prior to her appointment as LILY Director, Dr. Miao was a founding member/Director of the Emerging Research Lab (2004-2012) at NTU. She has supervised/co-supervised over 30 graduate students at NTU, UBC and SFU Canada. She has graduated 12 PhD students and mentored 11 postdoctoral fellows, all in the area of Artificial Intelligence. Many of them are now award-winning researchers in top academic institutions and companies. Dr. Miao is the recipient of the 2010 SCE Most Popular Lecturer Award and a teaching excellence grant from the Ministry of Education in 2012. In 2015, she was conferred two Koh Boon Hwee Inspirational Mentorship Recognition awards by the President of Singapore.

 

Academic Qualifications

2001-2003

 

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
1998-2001

 

Ph.D (Computer Engineering), School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
1996-1998

 

M.Eng. (Computer Engineering), School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
1984-1988

 

B.S. (Computer Science), Shandong University, China (Top 1% of the class).

 

Research Interests

The focus of my research has been on innovative disruptive AI approaches and methods that synergize human intelligence, artificial intelligence and behaviour data analytics, namely human enriched AI. Results from my basic research have been used in important application areas such as technologies for ageless aging, healthy living and innovative learning.

Research Statement I am working on new disruptive Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches that synergize human intelligence, artificial intelligence and behavior data analytics (AI powered by humans).
AI powered by humans Artificial intelligence (AI) as a field has recently undergone a dramatic shift – from trying to build intelligent machines towards harnessing the power of human computation to tackle problems that cannot be solved by computers alone. A notable example of such approaches is Gmail’s reCAPTCHA system which asks users to recognize alphanumeric characters written in non-standard fonts and styles. Since this task is easy for humans but very challenging for machines, it provides an elegant way for distinguishing between machines and humans as well as engaging the assistance of humans for digitizing old manuscripts.

I have pioneered a new research field in AI for crowdsourcing – Algorithmic Crowdsourcing – for efficient mass mobilization to help with computational tasks that are too challenging for today’s computing machines. I have proposed a series of real-time algorithms for efficient large-scale social engagement by combining game theory with network queuing theory. I have proposed new models in Personal AI to endow traditional intelligent software agents with human traits such as teachability, persuasion, trust and curiosity. My work on new disruptive AI e.g. Crowd AI and Personal AI has garnered awards at the top AI conferences IJCAI, AAAI, AAMAS & IAT.

An example (Personal AI) application deriving from my research is the use of a digital form of the well-known Trail Making Test (TMT) for stroke detection. A traditional TMT, conducted using paper and pencil, requires the assistance of medical professionals. This limits its use by a large population of users for screening purposes. Through user-friendly TMT-based games running on smart phones and pads, it becomes feasible to collect health data from millions of users. From the data, user behavior patterns can be analyzed by using AI methods, enhanced by human experts (AI powered by humans) when needed. This work has been accepted for publication in the journal Science.

A second example (Crowd AI) application of my research which was reported in the Feb 10, 2016 edition of the New Scientist (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2076775-our-photo-uploads-give-scientists-billions-of-eyes-on-the-world/) is AirTick, a smart phone App which uses a combination of crowdsourcing and machine learning to estimate pollution levels based on pictures taken by the phone. AirTick allows anyone with a smart phone to get real-time estimates of the ambient air quality. Reports gathered from many individuals at many different locations provide a rich source of data which can be analyzed to implement cost-effective measures for combatting air pollution.

Professor Thomas Dietterich, President of The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) commented on my research work at AAAI 2016:

“Prof Miao’s research in humanized AI imparting human qualities such as trust, curiosity and persuasion into intelligent agents could help establish more healthy relationships between humans and AI.”

He further commented that “Crowd AI research led by Prof Miao at LIlY is very novel. Her work in applying AI technologies to solve population aging challenges is the only work of its kind that I know of.”

Our methods have been used by top tech companies such as Apple (Research Kit), Baidu (Crowdsourcing platform), Taobao (recommendation), health care organizations such as TTS hospital and Pacific Parkinson research centre and numerous elderly communities.

In the last 5 years, I have added to NTU’s research profile with over 120 peer-reviewed research publications, including 33 journal papers, 91 conference papers, 2 book chapters, 1 edited book and 13 technology disclosure/patents filed. My current research works have received a total citation count (H-index) of 2827 (28) on Google Scholar, 1241 (17) on Scopus, and 1560 (19) on Web of Science.

Over these years, I am honoured to have been invited by international colleagues as keynote speaker and invited   speaker   at     international   conferences and workshops, and at international research institutions, universities and multi-national companies, to discuss the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence, Human Computation, Data Analytics and Digital Media for 27 times in total.

Impactful examples of my research which exploit the combined power of AI, human wisdom and data analytics include:

1)      Virtual Singapura which provides an agent augmented immersive learning environment to support active learning for a large number of learners through online learning behavior trajectory big data analytics. Virtual Singapura is being used by high schools in several countries.

2)      Intelligent Ageing in Place platforms with unobtrusive sensing and multidimensional behavior data analytics for assessing the wellness of the occupant(s), and novel personal AI digital assistants for active independent living and a dignified lifestyle.

3)      Age-friendly AI empowered games for health and wellness, e.g. screening and rehabilitation games for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and dementia. In these games, data are continuously collected and analyzed to provide health professionals with insights into the conditions of their patients.

My paper “Using motor patterns for stroke detection” has been accepted for publication by Science. My interactive digital games for screening for strokes and Parkinson’s disease will be made available to more than 800 million Apple users around the world through the Apple Research Kit. This will enable a massive scale study on the behaviour trajectory and patterns of stroke and Parkinson’s patients.

I have published over 200 papers in top-tier international AI conferences and ACM/IEEE journals, and am one of top cited researchers in Cognitive Map theory, Human Agent Interaction and Algorithmic Crowdsourcing.