Zhi Wei, associate professor of computer science at Ying Wu College of Computing, developed a research proposal that earned him a $50,000 Adobe Digital Experience Research Award

A prestigious and competitive prize in the field of data science, the Adobe Digital Experience Research Award is given to faculty members from top schools, like Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University and the University of Michigan. 

Wei’s proposal, “KPI-Driven Content Understanding and Generation With Applications to Digital Marketing,” presents a strategy to develop machine learning techniques that automatically generate digital content — text, image and video — that can maximize Key Performance Indexes (KPIs).

“In digital marketing, it is crucial to distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract [and] acquire a clearly defined audience, and to optimize various KPIs, such as conversion rate and click-through rate,” explained Wei. “The proposed project will facilitate content personalization using artificial intelligence-driven technologies.”

Zhi Wei, associate professor of computer science

For example, people looking to raise money on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter create and post content — photos, logos, video, web design and copy — based on experience with the help of traditional analytics to help fund their projects. 

“We will develop a program to generate such content automatically with an optimal funded rate,” said Wei. “The program will be trained to learn from thousands or even millions of successful and failed projects. If successful, digital marketing would be another showcase of the power of artificial intelligence. I am really excited about it.” 

Wei’s research efforts focus on advanced data analytics, particularly statistical modeling, data mining and machine learning, with main applications targeting biology, cancer genomics and genetics. But due to the emergence of data science and the groundswell of interest in big data, “I began to explore other applications, such as digital marketing, web analytics, finance and text mining,” said Wei. “These new research efforts have been very fruitful in the past few years. Having Adobe data science will be another valuable addition to our college’s industrial collaboration profile, to showcase our strength and expertise, and helps to solicit more support and collaboration from industry.”