Current NYU Shanghai Global Research Initiatives Fellows

Yi Yin (she/her/hers)
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (June 24 - July 26) :

Urban Heat Resilience: A Comparative Study between New York and Shanghai as the global climate continues to warm, urban centers are experiencing increasingly severe heat events. New York and Shanghai are influential megacities on their respective continents, and they share similar geographic factors such as coastal location and dense river networks that result in high humidity levels. Both cities are known for their dense population and complex urban infrastructure. Comparing their responses to extreme heat can shed light on how urban planning and design can mitigate or exacerbate heat events. Professor Yi Yin’s project aims to comprehensively examine the multifaceted impacts of extreme heat events in these two cities, in collaboration with faculty members at NYU Shanghai, in particular, Kangning Huang, Jiayong Liang, and Yifei Li. The proposed work will involve a detailed climate and environmental analysis, utilizing satellite imagery and meteorological data to understand the climatic patterns unique to each city. The research will delve into the urban fabric, scrutinizing how design, infrastructure, and green spaces contribute to heat absorption and dissipation, and the resultant effects on urban heat events. A significant focus will be on assessing the socioeconomic impacts and analyzing community vulnerability and responses to heat events. Finally, it will scrutinize and compare the policies and community initiatives targeting urban heat, aiming to identify and propagate best practices in urban heat management and resilience.

Amy Zhang (she/her/hers)
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts & Science

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (May 27 - June 28) :

Professor Amy Zhang is an anthropologist who has conducted fieldwork in China in the early to late 2010s. During the COVID-19 pandemic, China restricted entry to researchers and it has only recently re- opened its borders to foreigners. The GRI summer research funding will be used to support a preliminary research trip to assess the feasibility of further research on China’s green technology sector in the wake of its re-opening. As her first trip to China since 2018, Professor Zhang looks forward to reconnecting with academic and local environmental groups. The program will also allow her to expand her network with NYU Shanghai and to visit the campus for the first time.

Siwei Cheng (she/her/hers)
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts & Science

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (July 8 - July 26) :

Professor Siwei Cheng’s research project, "Inequality and Connectedness," combines daily mobility data collected via mobile device and the American Community Survey to create comprehensive measures of activity space segregation across geographic areas in the United States. The project extends conventional measures of spatial segregation to incorporate exposure in individuals' routine activities, weighted by the flows of individuals between census block groups. At NYU Shanghai, several scholars and research teams are collecting similar data to understand communities in urban China. Professor Cheng looks forward to the opportunity to connect with these scholars and engage in a broader conversation about inequality and connectedness in the global context.

Charlene Chou (she/her/hers)
Assistant Curator: Head, Knowledge Access, Department of Knowledge Access & Resource Management Services, Division of Libraries

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (July 5 - July 26) :

The primary goal of Charlene Chou’s research project is to enhance the discovery of East Asian e-journal collections by loading title-level resource descriptions into the library system Alma. This will make these e-resources more easily accessible in the NYU Shanghai Library catalog, supporting research, teaching, and learning within the NYU community. For instance, the Dacheng Old Journal Full-Text Database contains 1.3 million journal articles from over 7,000 journals. In the current catalog, only the database titles can be found,not individual journal titles. However, with the improvement, students or users will be able to locate articles needed for research in the Dacheng database by finding the catalog record for the specific journal title, as cited in the primary source. While conducting this research project at NYU Shanghai, Chou will be able to communicate and collaborate with her colleagues to review and streamline workflows in Alma, the new library system, which recently migrated and went live on January 4, 2024. 

Yang Feng (he/him/his)
Professor, Department of Biostatistics, School of Global Public Health

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (July 1 - July 26) :

Professor Yang Feng’s research project, specializing in high-dimensional multi- task and transfer learning inference, is a natural complement to NYU Shanghai's commitment to advanced data science and artificial intelligence. The project is structured around three pivotal goals. First, Professor Feng is  focused on developing innovative manifold-based multi-task learning algorithms, which are crucial for understanding and processing complex data structures. This aligns with NYU Shanghai's cutting-edge research in AI. Second, he aims to advance the field by clustering multi-task data in high-dimensional spaces, a challenging task given the presence of noise and outliers. This aspect of Professor Feng’s research is particularly relevant to the real- world applications of machine learning, an area NYU Shanghai is deeply invested in. Third, his work delves into exploring adaptive, robust learning and transfer techniques. These are essential for the development of flexible AI systems that can adjust to various scenarios and data environments, mirroring the dynamic nature of research at NYU Shanghai. Professor Feng’s potential collaboration with Dr. Christina Wang, an esteemed expert in deep reinforcement learning and large language models at NYU Shanghai, is an exciting prospect. This partnership stands to significantly enhance the depth and breadth of Professor Feng’s research. Dr. Wang's expertise in these areas will not only provide valuable insights into his project but also bridge the gap between theoretical research and practical, real-world applications. Together, their collaborative efforts are poised to contribute substantially to the fields of machine learning and AI.