BUFFALO, N.Y. – A gift of $200,000 from Melissa Dongmin Ma
and Robin Li, MS '94, co-founder of China’s search-engine
giant Baidu.com, will fund a laboratory in the Department of
Computer Science and Engineering in the University at
Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.The
Robin Li Data Mining and Machine Learning Laboratory will be
located in Davis Hall on the North Campus.
Liesl Folks, dean of the UB School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences, thanked the couple for their generosity.
“This gift ensures the school can continue to pursue
significant research while we proceed on an upward trajectory of
excellence,” Folks said. “The fact that such an
accomplished alumnus and his wife are giving it speaks volumes to
our students about the value of earning a UB engineering education.
We are very grateful to Melissa Dongmin Ma and Robin Li for serving
as a remarkable example of how giving to higher education can
transform our world. We are proud to call them our partners
as we embark on an exciting future as a premier 21st century
UB Distinguished Professor Aidong Zhang, who chairs the computer
science and engineering department, said the Li laboratory will
offer students and faculty a multitude of research
“This will help us develop new initiatives in data mining
and machine learning, and provide our students and faculty with
access to invaluable opportunities that would otherwise not be
available to us,” Zhang said.
Data mining involves extracting information from large datasets,
and develops algorithms that are closely related to methods of
pattern recognition and machine learning. The latter is a branch of
intelligence that involves construction and study of systems
that can learn
Robin Yanhong Li, co-founder, chairman and chief executive
officer of Baidu Inc., the Chinese-language equivalent of Google,
oversees the company's overall strategy and business operations. He
studied information management at Peking University and earned a
master’s degree from UB, where he studied at the Center of
Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), learning
about vector space models used to interpret word recognition
Since its founding in January 2000, Baidu has grown into the
country’s largest search engine, commanding more than 80
percent of the market. The company now ranks as the second-largest
independent search engine in the world, and has launched a Japanese
search engine. In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese
company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 Index.
Prior to founding Baidu, Li was already regarded as one of the
world's top search-engine experts. His patent for hyperlink
analysis helped shape today's search technology, and he has
substantially advanced the theoretical framework of China's
Internet sciences, becoming a driving force behind the overall
technology development of the entire Chinese IT industry.
Li has received many honors in China and in the U.S., including
designations for his business leadership from BusinessWeek and
Fortune magazines. TIME Magazine named Li as one of the World's
Most Influential People in 2010. UB bestowed its George W. Thorn
Award – for graduates under 40 who have made notable
contributions to their fields – on Li in 2006.