Yao Zhao

PhD Student

Interests: Machine learning, bandit problem, mathematical optimization



For the first 22 years of my life, I lived in Hefei, China, where I spent my childhood, and where I started BS degree in math from Anhui University. After that, I received MS degree from ShanghaiTech University (joint program with The University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences). Throughout three amazing years in Shanghai, I was given lifelong friendships, a rigorous academic environment, and the indestructible determination to further explore. Now, I am a first-year CS Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona under the supervision of Prof. Kwang-sung Jun.

​​​​​Research Interests

Machine learning, bandit problem, mathematical optimization

What long-term project do you want to work on?

I am always interested in various provable algorithm design.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Making a decision when facing the uncertainties (the philosophy behind the bandit problem).

What are your career goals?

Throughout this COVID-19 period, I've felt that it is much more meaningful to apply AI/ML techniques to human health, e.g., drug discovery, other than just entertainment or business.

​​​​Tell us something interesting about yourself!

People rarely share their failures. I was the last one in the entrance examination of my high school, no kidding, which almost destroyed me. After one year and a half, I was the first one.