Xin Fu (PhD ’08) received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) fall commencement ceremony on December 18. Fu also delivered the commencement address, “Go together, Go far.”
Fu currently serves as a Senior Director of Data Science at LinkedIn, where he and his team are responsible for driving product innovation through creative use of data, ranging from inferential analysis and online experimentation, to creation of analytics platforms and data products.
He previously held positions in quantitative research with the Google Maps team and with Microsoft’s Bing data mining team. Each of these roles enabled him to consider the human elements of human-computer interaction, as he worked to see the sites through the user’s eyes and provide them with the best possible experiences.
Fu’s achievements in the field of information science on a national level include more than 50 refereed papers and journal articles in the areas of information organization and retrieval, Web search interface, and online user behavioral measurement. He is a frequent speaker at major Big Data conferences like KDD and Strata, and he is a data advisor for some startup companies in the U.S. and China, including DiDi, China's largest ride-sharing company. Fu also serves on SILS’ Information Trends Advisory Roundtable (ITAR), working alongside other industry leaders to identify experiential learning opportunities for students, both locally and nationally.
“I think when most people hear the term ‘big data,’ they equate it with anonymity and impersonality,” said Emily Jack, President of SILSAA and Digital Projects and Outreach Librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill. “But Xin Fu’s career has had an unwavering focus on the quality of the user’s experience. His interest is in individuals and how their lives can be improved by the affordances of big data. And because of the positions he’s held, he’s been able to make a significant impact in this area.”
For more about Xin Fu, read an alumni profile from the 2015 SILS fall newsletter.