Ming Li

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Ming Li
Alma materWayne State University
Cornell University
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Computer science, Bioinformatics
InstitutionsUniversity of Waterloo
University of California at Santa Barbara
York University
Harvard University
Ohio State University
Thesis (1985)
Doctoral advisorJuris Hartmanis

Ming Li is a Canadian computer scientist, known for his fundamental contributions to Kolmogorov complexity, bioinformatics, machine learning theory, and analysis of algorithms.[1] Li is currently a professor of Computer Science at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo.[2] He holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics. In addition to academic achievements, his research has led to the founding of two independent companies.


Li received a Master of Science degree (Computer Science) from Wayne State University in 1980 and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Computer Science) under the supervision of Juris Hartmanis, from Cornell University in 1985. His post-doctoral research was conducted at Harvard University under the supervision of Leslie Valiant.[3]


Paul Vitanyi and Li, pioneered Kolmogorov complexity theory,[4] applications and co-authoring the textbook An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications,.[5]

In 2000, Li founded Bioinformatics Solutions Inc, a biomedical software company, primarily providing solutions for tandem mass spectrometry protein characterization. Originally developed to identify novel peptides through de novo peptide sequencing, the technology has been adapted to address antibody characterization. Other products have included protein structure prediction, general purpose homology searching, next generation sequencing glyco-peptide research.

In 2013, Li co-founded RSVP Technologies Inc, an artificial intelligence company. Utilizing statistical machine learning, deep neural network and natural language processing, the company develops a unique language-understanding platform for knowledge mining, sentence parsing, practical question-answering, and human-computer chatting. The software has been applied on voice-control navigation systems, personal tour guide applications, robotics and other intelligent electronics.[6]

Awards & Honours[edit]

  • 1996 - E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, NSERC[7]
  • 1997 - Award of Merit, FCCP[8]
  • 2001 - Killam Research Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts[9]
  • 2002 - Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics, Tier I[10]
  • 2006 - Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Pioneer Award[11]
  • 2006 - Fellow, Association for Computing Machinery[11]
  • 2006 - Fellow, Royal Society of Canada[12]
  • 2009 - Premier’s Discovery Award (Innovation Leadership)[13]


  1. ^ M. Li and P. Vitanyi, Inductive reasoning and Kolmogorov complexity. Journal of Computer and System Sciences, (special issue for Structure’89) 44:2(1992), 343-384.
  2. ^ "Profile of Ming Li".
  3. ^ Ming Li at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ M. Li, P. M. B. Vitányi, "Applications of Algorithmic Information Theory", Scholarpedia, 2(5):2658; 2007
  5. ^ M. Li and P. M. B.Vitányi, An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and its Applications, Springer, New York, 1993 (1st Ed.), 1997 (2nd ed.), 2008 (3rd ed.)
  6. ^ "Ask computer a question, computer answers". The Record. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  7. ^ http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Prizes-Prix/Steacie-Steacie/Profiles-Profils_eng.asp?ID=1072
  8. ^ http://fccpontario.com/education-foundation/award-of-merit/award-recipients/
  9. ^ http://killamprogram.canadacouncil.ca/~/media/images/cumulative%20list/2016/killam%20research%20fellowships%20past%20recipients%20-%20by%20year.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/chairholders-titulaires/profile-eng.aspx?profileID=748
  11. ^ a b https://uwaterloo.ca/math50/international-honours-and-awards
  12. ^ http://rsc-src.ca/en/fellows
  13. ^ https://news.ontario.ca/mris/en/2009/05/premiers-discovery-awards.html

External links[edit]