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Feng ZhaoChief Scientist

Dr. Feng Zhao is Distinguished Visiting Professor at Institute for AI Industry Research (AIR) at Tsinghua University, focusing on AI and IoT research, and a Venture Partner at Eight Roads Ventures, focusing on enterprise technology investment.


Dr. Zhao was Chief Technology Officer and Vice President at Haier ((#1 in global appliance market share according to Euromonitor data), from 2015 to 2019. He was responsible for Haier’s global advanced R&D and smart home platform and solutions, and helped guide the company’s digital transformation from a hardware-centric manufacturer to an Internet enabled smart home solutions provider.


Dr. Zhao led the technical and product development for one of the largest IoT commercial adoptions. As CTO for Haier, Dr. Zhao architected and led the team to develop U IoT Platform, including IoT connectivity solutions and Open U Cloud with secure device and data management. Using the U Platform, Haier has provided consumers with a full-range of IoT-enabled smart appliance products (429 models worldwide, 20M connected devices total). Dr. Zhao drove key industry interoperability initiatives (e.g., at OCF, CHEAA), and U was recognized by top innovation awards in IoT at the major industry forums: IFA Product Technical Innovation Award (Berlin, 2018) and CES Global Smart Appliance Award (Las Vegas, 2019).


Dr. Zhao is a leading authority on Internet of Things (IoT), having pioneered and developed some of the foundational technologies in sensor network, including collaborative sensing and processing techniques (IDSQ). Dr. Zhao was a Deputy Managing Director at Microsoft Research Asia during 2009-2015, responsible for hardware, mobile and sensing, software analytics, systems, and networking research areas. He and his team developed mobile and cloud solutions that advanced the state-of-the-art in computing and significantly impacted Microsoft product groups: accurate indoor navigation system, efficient Internet search index serving platform, interactive visual analytics for big data, software defined radio and data center networking technologies.

Prior to joining MSR-Asia, Dr. Zhao was a Principal Researcher and Partner at Microsoft Research Redmond (2004-2009), and founded the Networked Embedded Computing Area. During this time, he developed energy-aware datacenter monitoring and scheduling techniques, as well as the MSR sensor mote, Tiny Web Service, SenseWeb and SensorMap, JouleMeter, and energy-efficient server workload consolidation.


Dr. Zhao received his PhD in Computer Science from MIT, and taught at Stanford University and Ohio State University. He was a Principal Scientist at Xerox PARC and founded PARC's research effort in sensor networks. He served as the founding Editor-In-Chief of ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks. Dr. Zhao is an IEEE Fellow, and received a Sloan Research Fellowship and NSF and ONR Young Investigator Awards. He has authored or co-authored over 100 technical papers and books and has over 30 US patents issued. His work has been featured in news media such as BBC World News, BusinessWeek, and Technology Review.

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