[People of UIC] Li Yuanhao: From UIC Whole Person to PhD Pursuer

Published on 22 September 2023

Li Yuanhao

Department of Statistics and Data Science, UIC Class of 2022

MSc in High Performance Computing with Data Science, University of Edinburgh

Received an offer for a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Exeter, UK

Li Yuanhao, a UIC 2022 graduate of the Data Science Programme, has received sponsorship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to study for a PhD degree in Edge Computing at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

Fulfilling undergraduate studies at UIC

Li Yuanhao believes that UIC's Data Science programme provides a comprehensive study plan that covers various topics, including engineering mathematics, basic algorithms, databases, data analysis and processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It also pays attention to the cutting-edge development of the discipline. It uses the latest international textbooks and academic papers to help students understand and master the core knowledge of the discipline.


Li Yuanhao (second from right) and his Final Year Project teammate Lin Haoqiu with Dr Xuanyuan Zhe (first from left) and Dr Meng Rui (first from right) from the Faculty of Science and Technology

Li Yuanhao stressed that his teachers encourage students to be more autonomous and choose their topics for the final assignments. In this process, the teachers would ensure enough guidance to deepen students' understanding of knowledge. These learning experiences have greatly enriched Li Yuanhao's professional knowledge and improved his practical skills.

Connecting dots between music and scientific research

UIC's rigorous academic style and Whole Person Education have allowed Li Yuanhao to explore more possibilities. He joined the UIC Guqin Club, and from there, he learned more about guqin and classical Chinese music - Yayue (court music). The contact with Chinese classical music not only cultivated his personality but also positively impacted his studies.


Li Yuanhao (centre) plays the guqin on the UIC campus

Li Yuanhao's first research project was "Database building and AI recognition of Guqin's Jianzipu (guqin score)", which received support from the UIC interdisciplinary research fund. This project enabled him better to understand AI image recognition technology and database knowledge and accumulated valuable experience in applying theoretical knowledge to practice and teamwork.

After graduating from UIC, Li Yuanhao went to the University of Edinburgh to pursue a Master's in High Performance Computing with Data Science. In his recent final year project, he worked with his supervisor and PhD students from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh to design an accelerated gene alignment checker based on the supercomputing system Cirrus, which uses C, Cython, GPU, MPI, OpenMP and other technologies to optimise the original Python code and make it run nearly ten times faster. The team also developed a version that can be run on home PCs, which significantly improves the efficiency of researchers' study of genes and traits.

From UIC to the University of Edinburgh, finally having obtained the opportunity to pursue a doctoral degree, Li Yuanhao has advanced in academics and made growth and progress in all aspects of life. He will continue to overcome the thorns and keep walking.

From FST and MPRO

Reporter: Covee Wang

Photos provided by the interviewee

Editor: Deen He

Updated on 25 September 2023