Chen Li


Department of Computer Science

2086 Donald Bren Hall, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3435

chenli AT ics DOT uci DOT edu,  Office: 949-824-9470

Information Systems Group


Chen Li is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at UC Irvine. He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, and his M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science from Tsinghua University, China, respectively.  He was a recipient of an NSF CAREER award and several test-of-time publication awards, a part-time visiting research scientist at Google, PC co-chair of VLDB 2015, an ACM distinguished member, and an IEEE fellow. Since January 2020, he’s the treasurer and a board member of the VLDB Endowment.  Since July 2020, he is the Faculty Director of the ICS Master of Computer Science Program. He was a co-founder and CTO of a startup to commercialize his research.

Curriculum Vitae


My research interests are in the field of data management, including data-intensive computing, databases, query processing and optimization, machine learning-based systems and data analytics, search, visualization. My current focus is building open source systems for big data management and analytics. My PhD thesis at Stanford was on data integration, with an emphasis on both theoretical and practical aspects. My recent research, especially after spending a few quarters at Google and a few years doing a startup as its founder and CTO, has a strong preference on engineering and open source system building.  I believe “Computer Science” is a “Science” to support great engineering, and we need to build systems to stay relevant in this fast-paced IT era. My recent research projects are closely related to social media data analytics due to its increasing importance in many disciplines. Learn More …


SIGMOD 2027 (General co-chair), VLDB Endowment 2020 – now (Treasurer and Board Member), SIGMOD 2025 (PC member), VLDB 2024 Reproducibility (PC member), VLDB 2023 (PC member), ICDE 2023 (General Chair), SIGMOD 2022 (PC member), VLDB 2021 (Associate Editor, Industrial co-Chair), ICDE 2021 (PC member), IEEE Big Data 2019 (Tutorial co-Chair), TKDE 2018-2022 (Associate Editor), VLDB 2015 (PC co-Chair). 


  • (7/24) Our paper titled “Texera: A System for Collaborative and Interactive Data Analytics Using Workflows [Scalable Data Science]” by Zuozhi Wang, Yicong Huang, Shengquan Ni, Avinash Kumar, Sadeem Alsudais, Xiaozhen Liu, Xinyuan Lin, Yunyan Ding, and Chen Li has been accepted by VLDB 2024 (“Scalable Data Science” track).
  • (6/24) Our team received an ACM SIGMOD Best Demo Runner Up Award for the paper “Demonstration of Udon: Line-by-line Debugging of User-Defined Functions in Data Workflows” by Yicong Huang, Zuozhi Wang, and Chen Li.
  • (6/24) Together with Prof. Cyrus Shahabi of USC, we will organize SIGMOD 2027 in Los Angeles as the General Chairs.
  • (6/24) Honored to receive the 2024 ICS Dean’s Award for Graduate Student Education and Mentoring.
  • (6/24) Together with colleagues from Cornell, UCLA, and UCSD, we received a 5-year award ($10M total) from NIH NIDDK titled “dkNET Coordinating Unit: Harnessing the Power of AI and Data Science forCollaborative Discovery and Sharing in the DK Community“.
  • (5/24) We had a great ISG Reunion! It’s great to see many alumni at the event. Here’s the photo album.
  • (4/24) Our team gave a dkNet webinar titled “Texera: A Scalable Cloud Computing Platform for Sharing Data and Workflow-Based Analyses”. Here is the video. We talked about how the Texera system can be used in the field of bioinformatics.
  • (4/24) Our PhD student Yicong Huang received a UCI Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship. Congratulations!
  • (3/24) Our Ph.D. student Yicong Huang is named 2023 Public Impact Fellow by UC Irvine. The fellowships highlight and support doctoral students whose current research has the potential for substantial impact in the public sphere. Congratulations!
  • (2/24) In the spring quarter, together with our PhD students, Yicong Huang and Shengquan Ni, we will offer a new undergraduate course titled “ICS 80: Data Science and AI/ML Using Workflows.” We will use the Texera system in the course.  Check the flyer and Canvas site.
  • (1/24) For the second time, we will organize the NSF-funded Data Science for All summer program. We are accepting applications from high-school students.
  • (10/23) Visited colleagues at Temple University and University of Maryland.
  • (10/23) Our paper titled “Udon: Efficient Debugging of User-Defined Functions in Big Data Systems with Line-by-Line Control” with Yicong Huang and Zuozhi Wang will appear in SIGMOD 2024.
  • (8/27/23) Our team has four presentations at VLDB, Vancouver, including a tutorial based on our Texera system.
  • (8/8/23) Check out this Texera blog titled “Enhancing the UDF Editor by Adding Language Server Support.”
  • (7/21/23) Together with UCLA colleagues, we successfully completed the “Data Science for All (DS4ALL)” summer program, in which we used Texera to teach high school students data science and machine learning.  Check some photos here. Here is an ICS news article.
  • (7/17/23) Our PhD student Sadeem Alsudais successfully defended her thesis “Improving Iterative Analytics in GUI-Based Data-Processing Systems with Visualization, Version Control, and Result Reuse”. Congratulations, Dr. Alsudais!
  • (6/29/23) Our team published a blog titled “Using Texera to perform single-cell RNA sequencing analysis with R Language.”
  • (6/17/23) During the UCI Commencement, four of our PhD students (Sadeem Alsudais, Qiushi Bai, Avinash Kumar, Zuozhi Wang) were hooded.  Congratulations!
  • (6/23) Our team has the following papers accepted by VLDB 2023: (1) Demo of Squidster: Supporting Middleware-based SQL Query Rewriting as a Service (DEMO), by Qiushi Bai, Sadeem Alsudais, and Chen Li; (2) QueryBooster: Improving SQL Performance Using Middleware Services for Human-Centered Query Rewriting (RESEARCH PAPER), by Qiushi Bai, Sadeem Alsudais, and Chen Li; and (3) Building a Collaborative Data Analytics System: Opportunities and Challenges (TUTORIAL), by Zuozhi Wang and Chen Li.
  • (6/14/23) Our team published a blog titled “Improving Texera Operators to Simplify a Workflow from Alteryx.”
  • (5/23) The SIGMOD 2022 paper “JEDI: These aren’t the JSON documents you’re looking for…” by Thomas Hütter, Nikolaus Augsten, Christoph Kirsch, Michael Carey, and Chen Li, received the SIGMOD 2023 reproducibility award.  
  • (5/26/23) Our PhD student Qiushi Bai successfully defended his thesis “Improving SQL Performance Using Middleware-Based Query Rewriting“. Congratulations, Dr. Bai!
  • (5/23) Together with Prof. Wei Wang from UCLA, we are organizing an NSF-funded summer program called “DATA SCIENCE FOR ALL”, which teaches students principles of data science and machine learning using Texera.
  • (4/14/23) Our PhD student Zuozhi Wang successfully defended his thesis “Texera: A System for Collaborative and Interactive Data Analytics Using Workflows”. Congratulations, Dr. Wang!
  • (4/3/23-4/7/23) As the General Chair, I was working with other organizers to run the ICDE 2023 conference in Anaheim, CA. Check some of the photos here!
  • Past New

Latest News