CV | Research | Awards | Selected Projects | Publications | Patents | Talks | Activities | Misc.

Qian Yang

Qian Yang

Postdoctoral Associate
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Duke University
Office: Gross Hall, Durham, NC 27710
Email: laraqianyang[at]gmail[dot]com;
[Curriculum Vitae]

I am currently a postdoctoral associate at Duke University, where I work with Prof. Lawrence Carin.

Before that, I worked with Prof. Rebecca J. Passonneau at both Penn State University and Columbia University, in a list of projects with a focus on applying Artificial Intelligence for Education.

I got my Ph.D. from Tsinghua University in July, 2017. My advisor is Prof. Gerard de Melo. I was a member of the Web Mining and Language Technology group at Tsinghua University, part of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS), which is led by Turing award winner Andrew Yao. Before that, I received my Bachelor of Computer Science from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, with two publications (indexed by SCI, Impact factor ~3) in the area of quantum information and top ~1% of GPA rank.


  • One paper got accepted by ICML, 2018.

  • I passed my Ph.D. final defense on May 31, 2017.

  • I was awarded a Google Women Techmakers Scholarship (previously known as Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship).

  • I finished a marathon on Apri 15, 2017. Only 2 girls at IIIS joined the marathon. She said to me, "thanks for your persistence because when I wanna give up I knew you were in the front".

  • I'll give a presentation at WWW 2017, Perth, Australia in April of 2017.

  • I will spend 5 months visiting Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hermann Ney in the autumn of 2016.

  • I'll give an oral presentation at AAAI 2016, Phoenix, Arizona, USA in February of 2016.

Current Research Foci

My research focuses on a wide range of topics in Natural Language Processing (especially Text Summarization, Open Information Extraction, Knowledge Graph, Machine Translation), Deep Learning, and the intersection of AI and HCI. For example,

Text Summarization: We propose PEAK, the very first method for automatically evaluating the quality of a summary using the Pyramid method. PEAK shows great promise for automated scoring and assessment of manual or automated summaries, opening up the possibility of widespread use in the education domain and in information management.

Machine Translation: To overcome the data scarcity problem for resource-scarce language pairs, we introduce a joint training algorithm for pivot-based neural machine translation, which leads to significant improvements over independent training across various languages.

Deep Learning: We decouple the backpropagation by breaking the backward lock using delayed gradients, which accelerates the training of deep learning models significantly without loss of accuracy.

Human-Computer Interaction: The staggering amounts of content readily available to us via digital channels can often appear overwhelming. So we create HiText, a simple yet effective way of dynamically marking parts of a document in accordance with their salience. HiText relies on a deep learning-based sentence ranking method that results in marked increases in user satisfaction and reading efficiency.


  • Google Women Techmakers Scholar, Asia Pacific (Among 8 from China), 2017

  • Outstanding Individual in Graduates’ Summer Internship, Tsinghua University, 2014

  • Outstanding Student Leader, Tsinghua University, 2014

  • Scholarship for Overseas Graduate Students, Tsinghua University, 2014

  • Award for Natural Science Innovation, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, 2011

  • Meritorious Winner of International Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling, International, 2011

  • Gold Medal for ACM Competition, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, 2011

  • Third Prize of Scilab Contest, 2011

  • First Prize of National Mathematical Modeling Contest, 2010

  • First Prize Scholarship, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, 2010

  • Outstanding Student Leader, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, 2010

  • First Prize Scholarship, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, 2009

  • Enterprise Scholarship for Outstanding Student, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (for Top 5th/316 Students), 2008

Selected Projects


We provides a Java implementation of PEAK, the first tool to automatically generate the pyramid models that enables the whole automatical assessment of both human and machine summaries.

[Enter PEAK's homepage]


Decoupled Parallel Backpropagation with Convergence Guarantee.
Zhouyuan Huo, Bin Gu, Qian Yang, Heng Huang.
ICML (Oral), 2018.
[Online] [Code]

HiText: Text Reading with Dynamic Salience Marking.
Qian Yang, Yong Cheng, Sen Wang, Gerard de Melo.
WWW, 2017.

Neural Machine Translation with Pivot Languages.
Yong Cheng, Qian Yang, Yang Liu, Maosong Sun, Wei Xu.
IJCAI, 2017.

Wise Crowd Content Assessment and Educational Rubrics.
Rebecca J. Passonneau, Ananya Poddar, Gaurav Gite, Alisa Krivokapic, Qian Yang, Dolores Perin.
International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 10.1007/s40593-016-0128-6, 2016.
[Online] [BiBTeX]

PEAK: Pyramid Evaluation via Automated Knowledge Extraction.
Qian Yang, Rebecca J. Passonneau, Gerard de Melo.
AAAI (Oral), 2016.
[Online] [BiBTeX] [Code] [Slides of Oral Presentation]

Research on the Key Management for AMI System Based on IEC62056 Standard.
Jianfeng Yin, Aibo Shi, Qian Yang, Xiaohang Zhang, Liusheng Huang, Haitao Ji.
Electrical Measurement and Instrumentation, Issue No. 2, 2016.
[Online] [BiBTeX]

Semi-loss-tolerant Strong Quantum Coin-flipping Protocol Using Quantum Non-demolition Measurement.
Qian Yang, Jiajun Ma, Fenzhuo Guo, Qiaoyan Wen.
Quantum Information Processing, 10.1007/s11128-014-0747-5, 2014.
[Online] [BiBTeX]

Semi-loss-tolerant Strong Coin Flipping Protocol Using EPR Pairs.
Jiajun Ma, Fenzhuo Guo, Qian Yang, Yanbin Li, Qiaoyan Wen.
Quantum Information and Computation, Vol. 12 No. 5 and 6, 2011.
[Online] [BiBTeX]


Three-party secret key management method based on IEC62056 data transmission safety standard.
Publication number: CN104363219A
Filing date: Nov 6, 2014


  • Identifying and Connecting Salient Information via Semantic Text Representations. University of Pennsylvania, US. March, 2018.

  • HiText: Text Reading with Dynamic Salience Marking. Penn State University, US. May, 2017.

  • Identifying and Connecting Salient Information via Semantic Text Representations. Rutgers University, US. May, 2017.

  • Disambiguation and Alignment of Semantic Representations. Alibaba, China. Dec, 2016.

  • PEAK: Pyramid Evaluation via Automated Knowledge Extraction. RWTH Aachen University, Germany. May, 2016.

  • Disambiguation and Alignment of Semantic Representations. Columbia University, US. Mar, 2015.

  • Semantic Role Labeling. MSRA, China. Jun, 2014.


Academic Experiences

Teaching Experience

  • CSE 597 Spring 2018, Natural Language Processing, Penn State University
    Co-teach with Prof. Rebecca J. Passonneau

  • Spring 2014 – 2015, Speech Science, Technology and Innovative Applications, Tsinghua University
    TA of Instructors: Prof. P.C. Ching, Prof. Tan Lee, Prof. Ken Ma, Prof. Helen Meng, and Prof. William S.-Y. Wang, all from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Prof. Gerard de Melo, from Tsinghua University
    [Course Homepage]

  • Fall 2013 – 2014, Hot Topics in Computational Biology, Tsinghua University
    TA of Instructor: Prof. Jianyang (Michael) Zeng

Professional Activities

  • Program Committee Member:
    NAACL(2018), IJCAI-ECAI(2018), ACL(2018)


  • Assigned to LINYANG Electronics Co., Ltd. by Tsinghua University, Jul. 2014 
    Topic: Data Encryption for Advanced Metering Infrastructure System
    One publication in this area, which is not related to my PhD topic.

  • Awarded Outstanding Individual in Graduates' Summer Internship of Tsinghua University, 2014


Other Activities

  • Host for IIIS New Year Party 2013, 2014 

  • You would never know the host is now very hungry.

  • Assistant for Graduate Students of IIIS, 2013

  • When organizing this autumn outing, some students wanted to go hiking but some only wanted to go to the KTV or play games, and the other preferred to eat delicious food just as me. Finally I found a place where we made all the ideas come true.

    We organized a successful Doctoral Consortium with PhDs from both Computer Science and Physics.

    This is a chorus competition host by Tsinghua University, but the judgers come from the top singers in China. As the assistant, I'm proud of the prize we won!

    I love basketball very much and I can throw at least 4 balls given 5 ones into the basket. BTW, could you find me in the second pictures? (Hint: just find a girl out of all the other men players in the football team.) It's the first time the team won a competition!

  • Vice Minister of the Academic Ministry of Tsinghua University Graduate Association, 2013

  • League Secretary of IIIS Grad2, 2012

I'm one of the editors.

Awarded Outstanding Student Leader of Tsinghua University, 2014

Interests: Go (from the age of five), Piano, Guitar, Yoga, and my photography is at 500px.

Last Updated: April 28, 2018.

Credits: Teaching icon from Icons8.