Porfessor, Director of the Tongji Intelligent Big Data Visualization Lab (iDVx Lab)


Brief Introduction

Nan Cao graduated from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology with a doctoral degree in computer. Before joining Tongji University, he was a research staff member at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and the Co-Chair of IBM Global PIC (Professional Interest Communities) of Visualization and Computer Graphics. During his working experience of adecade in the IBM Research Division, he has won the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, the IBM Outstanding Research Achievement Award, and several IBM Innovation Achievement Awards. Nan Cao's main research interest is big data analysis and visualization. His publications include many technical aspects of data visualization, data mining, machine learning, and human-computer interaction, and these techniques have been applied in many application fields of information security, smart city, healthcare, intelligent design. He has published over 90 papers and filed over 40 patents in these fields. Nan Cao is the winner of 2016 ACM Intelligent User Interface Best Paper Award, and ACM Rising Star Award (Shanghai, China), 2015 IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, 2014 IBM Outstanding Research Achievement Award in 2014, and the Honorable Mention of the IEEE VAST 2014 Best Paper Award.



Information Visualization, Visual Analysis, Human-Computer Interaction, Intelligent Design


Master: Introduction to Data Visualization, Studio of Data Visualization Design

Academic and social Post

Computer Science Review (IF: 7.707), Editorial Board (2021-2025)

IEEE Transactions on Multimedia (IF: 5.452), Guest Editorial Board(2016)

ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (IF: 2.672), Guest Editorial Board(2017)

ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (IF: 2.69), Guest Editorial Board(2016)

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (IF:4.558), Guest Editorial Board(2021)

IEEE PacificVis, Paper Chair(2021)

China Vis, Paper Chair(2018-2019)

China Vis, Poster Chair(2016-2017)

IEEE InfoVis, Committee Member(2008-2013)

IEEE VAST, Committee Member (2017-2020)

IEEE PacificVis, Committee Member (2016-2018)

EuroVis, Committee Member (2017-2021)

AAAI, Committee Member (2017)

IJCAI, Committee Member(2015)

IEEE/ACM ASONAM, Committee Member(2016)

Graph Drawing, Committee Member(2019)


Education Background

  • Ph.D in Computer Science

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong. Feb, 2010 – Aug, 2012

  • M.Eng. in Computer Science

    Northwestern Polytechnic University, Xi’An, ShaanXi, China. Sep, 2003 – March, 2006

  • B.Eng. in Automation

    Northwestern Polytechnic University, Xi’An, ShaanXi, China Sep, 1999 – July, 2003


Work Experience

  • 2016 to Present  Professor

    College of Design and Innovation and School of Software and Engineering,

    Tongji University, Shanghai, China

  • 2012 - 2015 Research Staff Member

    Research Department, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, NY, USA

  • 2006 - 2010 Intern, Research Engineer, Staff Researcher, Project Leader

    Research Department, IBM China Research Lab, Beijing, China



2017-2021, 1000 Talent Grants, PI

2021-2024, NSFC 62072338, PI

2021-2023, NSFC 62061136003, PI

2017-2019, NSFC 61602306, PI

2019-2021, NSFC 61802283, Co-PI

2020-2023, National Science Foundation of Shanghai, China 20ZR1461500, Co-PI



Nan Cao*, Conglei Shi, W. Sabrina Lin, Jie Lu, Yu-Ru Lin, Ching-Yung Lin:

TargetVue: Visual Analysis of Anomalous User Behaviors in Online Communication Systems. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 22(1): 280-289 (2016)


Nan Cao*, Yu-Ru Lin, David Gotz:

UnTangle Map: Visual Analysis of Probabilistic Multi-Label Data. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 22(2): 1149-1163 (2016)


Hanfei Lin, Siyuan Gao, David Gotz, Fan Du, Jingrui He, Nan Cao*:

RCLens: Interactive Rare Category Exploration and Identification. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 24(7): 2223-2237 (2018)


Shunan Guo, Ke Xu, Rongwen Zhao, David Gotz, Hongyuan Zha, Nan Cao*:

EventThread: Visual Summarization and Stage Analysis of Event Sequence Data. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 24(1): 56-65 (2018)


Nan Cao, Chaoguang Lin, Qiuhan Zhu, Yu-Ru Lin, Xian Teng, Xidao Wen:

Voila: Visual Anomaly Detection and Monitoring with Streaming Spatiotemporal Data. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 24(1): 23-33 (2018)


Ke Xu, Meng Xia, Xing Mu, Yun Wang, Nan Cao*:

EnsembleLens: Ensemble-based Visual Exploration of Anomaly Detection Algorithms with Multidimensional Data. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 25(1): 109-119 (2019)


Zhuochen Jin, Shunan Guo, Nan Chen, Daniel Weiskopf, David Gotz, Nan Cao*:

Visual Causality Analysis of Event Sequence Data. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 27(2): 1343-1352 (2021)


Danqing Shi, Xinyue Xu, Fuling Sun, Yang Shi, Nan Cao*:

Calliope: Automatic Visual Data Story Generation from a Spreadsheet. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 27(2): 453-463 (2021)


Xingyu Lan, Yang Shi, Yueyao Zhang, Nan Cao*:

Smile or Scowl? Looking at Infographic Design Through the Affective Lens. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 27(6): 2796-2807 (2021)


Fan Du, Nan Cao*, Yu-Ru Lin, Panpan Xu, Hanghang Tong:

iSphere: Focus+Context Sphere Visualization for Interactive Large Graph Exploration. CHI 2017: 2916-2927


Ke Xu, Shunan Guo, Nan Cao*, David Gotz, Aiwen Xu, Huamin Qu, Zhenjie Yao, Yixin Chen:

ECGLens: Interactive Visual Exploration of Large Scale ECG Data for Arrhythmia Detection. CHI 2018: 663


Nan Cao*, Xin Yan, Yang Shi, Chaoran Chen:

AI-Sketcher : A Deep Generative Model for Producing High-Quality Sketches. AAAI 2019: 2564-2571


Shunan Guo, Zhuochen Jin, Fuling Sun, Jingwen Li, Zhaorui Li, Yang Shi, Nan Cao*:

Vinci: An Intelligent Graphic Design System for Generating Advertising Posters. CHI 2021: 577:1-577:17


Xingyu Lan, Xinyue Xu, Nan Cao*:

Understanding Narrative Linearity for Telling Expressive Time-Oriented Stories. CHI 2021: 604:1-604:13


Yang Shi, Xingyu Lan, Jingwen Li, Zhaorui Li, Nan Cao*:

Communicating with Motion: A Design Space for Animated Visual Narratives in Data Videos. CHI 2021: 605:1-605:13

Honors and Awards

ChinaVis 2020, Best Paper Award, 2020

Design Intelligence Award, 2019

ACM CHI, Honorable Mention Award, 2018

ChinaVis 2016, Honorable Mention Award, 2016

ACM Intelligent User Interface, Best Paper Award, 2016

ACM Rising Start Award (ShangHai), 2016

IBM Innovation Achievements: the 5th Plateau Award, 2015

IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, 2015

Honorable Mention of the IEEE VAST Best Paper Award, 2014

IBM Outstanding Research Accomplishment Award (the SmallBlue Project), 2013

Microsoft Global MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Award in Oct. 2005



Phone: 021-65986671

Email: nan.cao@tongji.edu.cn

Web: http://www.nancao.org/



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