Zhang Honored with Grainger College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Research

7/25/2023 Hannah Gorrie

Computer Science Professor Lingming Zhang was awarded a $3,000 Grainger College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research a recognition of his outstanding work over the past five years. 

Written by Hannah Gorrie

This spring, CS Professor Lingming Zhang was awarded the Grainger College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, which recognizes his outstanding work within the past five years and includes $3,000 in discretionary funding. 

Lingming Zhang
Lingming Zhang

Since joining Illinois CS in 2020, Zhang has been conducting influential research focused on software engineering (SE), as well as its synergy with programming languages (PL) and machine learning (ML). His exceptional work has a robust theoretic and practical impact on software quality and developer productivity globally. Within the past five years, his work has received multiple major academic recognitions and awards (including the ACM SIGSOFT Early Career Research Award and four ACM best paper awards), has been deployed at a number of big tech companies (such as Google and Alibaba) and helped discover over 1,000 critical bugs or vulnerabilities for influential software systems, including Apache, eBay, Google, Meta/Facebook, Microsoft, NVIDIA, OctoML, Oracle, and Yahoo!. 

The Dean’s Award also recognizes Zhang’s service to academia and industry. He is a valuable asset to the CS Department, serving as the research area chair for Programming Languages, Formal Methods, and Software Engineering (PLFMSE) since 2021 and managing the area’s graduate admissions, teaching, networking events, student mentoring, and faculty recruitment. He routinely teaches graduate and undergraduate-level classes focused on software engineering, software testing, debugging, program repair and synthesis, and the synergy of software engineering and machine learning. Zhang is a demonstrably effective instructor, winning two teaching awards within his first two years of instruction at Illinois. His undergraduate, MS, and Ph.D. students are all highly successful, publishing first-author and co-authored papers in distinguished conferences and joining esteemed graduate programs at institutions such as Illinois, Yale, and Stanford.

Zhang is also committed to the research community and has a strong record of service. Within the past five years, he has served on the organizing committees for six conferences/workshops and on the program committees for 40+ conferences/workshops. In 2022 alone, he was the program co-chair for the 33rd IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE’22) and the Tool Demonstration track at ICSE’22. He was also a program committee member for all software engineering top conferences. Zhang has been invited to give talks at various institutions/conferences and served on the review panels for funding agencies all over the world, including NSF, Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, Luxembourg National Research Fund, European Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Swiss National Science Foundation.

Bliss Professor and Computer Science Department Head Nancy M. Amato shared that “Lingming has established himself as one of the top young researchers in his area and is an emerging leader in software engineering. He is a valuable member of the CS Department and is highly deserving of having his stellar contributions to research, academia, and industry recognized with this Dean’s Award.”

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This story was published July 25, 2023.