ChengXiang Zhai is a Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering of Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also holds a joint appointment at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, Department of Statistics, and the School of Information Sciences. He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Nanjing University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Language and Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University in 2002. He worked at Clairvoyance Corp. as a Research Scientist and a Senior Research Scientist from 1997 to 2000. His research interests are in the general area of intelligent information systems, including specifically information retrieval, data mining, natural language processing, machine learning, and their applications in domains such as biomedical informatics, and intelligent education systems. He has published over 300 papers in these areas with a Google Scholar h-index of 73 and holds 5 patents. He offers two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Coursera covering Text Retrieval and Search Engines and Text Mining and Analytics, respectively, and is a key contributor of the Lemur text retrieval and mining toolkit.