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Computing professor one of the world's most highly cited researchers – nine years in a row


Brunel University London's Prof Xiaohui Liu has been named as one of the world's most highly cited researchers in Computer Science, as part of a 'who's who' list of the top 1% of published academics, released today by Clarivate.

The Professor of Computing has been at Brunel since 2000 and has authored well over 300 papers in research topics including artificial intelligence, data science and optimisation.

These papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals and then cited by other researchers, meaning that they've used Prof Liu's findings as a source in their own studies. In the metaphor about scientific progress used by Sir Isaac Newton, 'Standing on the shoulders of giants', these other researchers are standing on Prof Liu's shoulders – and frequently so, with his papers having been cited nearly 20,000 times so far, as shown on analytics company Clarivate's Web of Science.

Prof Liu's research is important for a wide range of areas including biomedicine and engineering, demonstrated by a few examples of his most highly cited papers:

  • research into the interpretation of gene expression data, published in the journal Genome Biology
  • a study into real-time traffic sign recognition, published in Pattern Recognition
  • a survey of deep neural network structures and their applications, as used in artificial intelligence, published in Neurocomputing
  • the proposal and testing of a new 'particle swarm optimisation' algorithm, published in IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics.

His appearance in Clarivate's 2022 Highly Cited Researcher list marks the ninth year in a row this has happened, after having been listed for Engineering (2014 to 2019), Computer Science (2020) and in the Cross-Field category (2021).

Clarivate’s annual list identifies some 6,600 researchers from across the globe who demonstrated significant influence through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. The highly cited researchers’ names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and for publication year in the Web of Science citation index.

Why are Prof Liu’s papers cited so much? He attributes some of his success to having a vision for the direction of his research. "Over 30 years ago, when working on real-world data analysis projects, I noted that some inadequacies of statistical methods could be addressed by the appropriate use of artificial intelligence techniques," he said.

This led to his passion for what he termed 'Intelligent Data Analysis' – the integration of ideas and methods from artificial intelligence, data analysis and other disciplines to study an interdisciplinary approach to the effective analysis of data. He pushed this line of investigation, setting up a research group and conference series in the mid-1990s. "A lot of our most cited papers have resulted from addressing various challenging issues arising from the study of Intelligent Data Analysis principles, methods or applications," Prof Liu said.

But scientific research isn't a solo activity, nor one that's tackled just by a research group. "I have been fortunate to be able to collaborate with many extremely talented scientists who share my research passions," he said. "For example, I have been working closely with my Brunel colleague Prof Zidong Wang for over 20 years, benefiting tremendously from his wisdom, drive and efficiency."

And Prof Liu has collaborated with leading scientists in biomedicine and engineering from different parts of the world, including Prof Barrie Jones from London's Moorfields Eye Hospital. "He taught me a lot of what I know about interdisciplinary research, and our joint work led to innovative eye screening programmes used in Africa."

Prof Liu added how conducting high-quality research – the kind that would result in highly cited papers – requires an excellent research environment. "The Department of Computer Science is not only a stimulating and fun place to conceive new ideas and perform interdisciplinary research, but also an incredibly supportive unit with a warm, collegial atmosphere," he said.

Having been recognised as a highly cited researcher for nine consecutive years in three different areas is an achievement that Prof Liu also attributes to the shoulders he's stood on. "I am truly honoured, though this series of recognitions says a lot more about my colleagues at Brunel, and my collaborators nationally and internationally, rather than myself. They have made everything possible," he said, humbly.

"Over the past decade, artificial intelligence and data science have become two of the fastest growing areas of research. This latest recognition is a continuous endorsement of the Intelligent Data Analysis work carried out at Brunel and gives us even more impetus to take on some of the remaining major challenges in the field."

Find out more about Computer Science at Brunel University London.

Reported by:

Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268821