About me

Yunyao Li: Illustrated Story

Thought leader and changing agent with over 10 years of success in a Silicon Valley R&D center, achieving business impact by combining effective leadership with deep technical knowledge and skills. World-class computer scientist, continuing to push the boundary of innovation from scientific research to business results. Passionate advocate for improving the diversity for the STEM field.

  • Led the R&D of several large research projects, resulting in successful transfer into 20+ products with high business impact (billion+$ revenue) and numerous high-profile customer engagements. Recognized by multiple prestigious IBM internal awards.
  • Built a high performing team awarded with 12 prestigious research accomplishment awards within the past 5 years with perfect employee engagement scores.
  • Expert at the intersection of natural language processing, databases, human-computer interaction, and machine learning. Published 100+ peer reviewed publications in these areas at prestigious conferences (e.g. ACL, AAAI, SIGMOD) and journals (e.g. JVLDB and ToCHI) with 36 patents issued and 1 book (as of June 2023).
  • Developed and co-taught graduate-level courses at 5+ top universities world-wide and 2 MOOC courses on NLP (20,000+ enrollment).
  • Regularly organizes conferences, workshops, and panels at top AI conferences and served on prestigious program committees, editorial board and review panels.

Short Bio

Yunyao Li leads the Open Domain Knowledge team at Apple Knowledge Platform. Until early 2022, she was a Distinguished Research Staff Member and Senior Research Manager at IBM Research - Almaden where she built and managed the Scalable Knowledge Intelligence department. She has built systems, developed solutions, and delivered core technologies to over 20 IBM products under brands such as Watson, InfoSphere, and Cognos and more recently to Apple services such as Siri and Spotlight Search with impact to billions of users. She is particularly known for her work in scalable Natural Language Processing with human-computer cooperation and declarative Text Understanding, enterprise search, and database usability. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and a book in these areas. She was an IBM Master Inventor, with nearly 40 patents granted. Her technical contributions have been recognized by prestigious awards within and outside of IBM on a regular basis. She is an ACM Distinguished Member. She was a member of the inaugural New Voices program of the American National Academies (1 out of 18 selected nationwide) and represented US young scientists at World Laureates Forum Young Scientists Forum in 2019 (1 of 4 selected nationwide). Yunyao obtained her Ph.D degree in Computer Science & Engineering and dual-degrees of M.S.E in Computer Science & Engineering and M.S in Information from the University of Michigan. She went to college at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, and graduated with dual-degrees of B.E in Automation and B.S in Economics.

More About Me

Learn more about my personal journey as a 1st generation college student.