Professor & Distinguished Research Scholar @ HKUST & ICSI
De Kai is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) and Distinguished Research Scholar at Berkeley's ICSI (International Computer Science Institute). He was named Founding ACL Fellow in 2011 by the Association for Computational Linguistics for his pioneering contributions to machine translation and inversion transduction grammars, which are machine learning foundations underlying modern translation technologies like Yahoo Translate, Google Translate or Microsoft Translate. Recruited as founding faculty of HKUST directly from UC Berkeley, where his PhD thesis was one of the first to construct probabilistic machines that learn to understand human languages, he founded HKUST's internationally funded Human Language Technology Center and launched the first AI web translator over 20 years ago.
De Kai holds an Executive MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern University) and HKUST, and a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of California at San Diego. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto (Ontario, Canada), and also has been a visiting researcher at Columbia University, Bell Laboratories, and the Technische Universität München (Munich, Germany). He has served as Associate Editor or on the Editorial Boards of AI Journal, Computational Linguistics, Machine Translation, Computer Speech and Language, ACM Transactions on Speech and Language Processing, and Journal of Natural Language Engineering, as well as on the Executive Committee of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). His AI research focuses on natural language processing, language technology, music technology, and machine learning, and his cross-disciplinary work in language, music, and cognition centers on enabling cultures to relate. In 2015, Debrett's HK 100 recognized him as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong.