The Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad was awarded to Xirong Li.
The PhD thesis of Xirong, entitled ‘Content-Based Visual Search Learned from Social Media’, reveals the value of socially tagged images for content-based visual search. To learn from social media, Xirong proposed algorithms which automatically determine whether a tag spontaneously assigned to a picture is factually relevant with respect to the visual content. By identifying relevant tags, he has found a way to transfer noisy social data into numerous well-labelled examples. This leads to an intelligent search engine which can find unlabelled images on the Internet, a smart phone, or a laptop. The increasing availability of labelled examples also enables the search engine to answer more complex queries, e.g., finding images of horse riders on the beach. Xirong’s work opens up promising avenues for search engines that provide access to the semantics of unlabelled images, without the need for expert labelling. Xirong successfully defended his thesis on 9 March 2012 and is currently an Assistant Professor at Renmin University of China.
The Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad was founded by the Chinese government in 2003 with the purpose of rewarding academic excellence among self-financed Chinese students studying overseas. Only those with outstanding performance in their PhD studies are considered by the award selection committee. Each year, approximately 500 young Chinese talents worldwide are granted the award.