Baochun Li

Baochun Li is a Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto. He holds the Bell Canada Endowed Chair in Computer Engineering. He leads the iQua research group. His passion on research hinges upon his love for things that are simple, elegant, and beautiful.

At a Glance (as of May 2022):

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Baochun Li is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is cross-appointed to the Department of Computer Science. He is a member of the Computer Engineering group. Starting August 2005, he holds the Bell Canada Endowed Chair in Computer Engineering. He leads the iQua research group.

Baochun received his B.Engr. degree in 1995 from Tsinghua University, China, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1997 and 2000 from the Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Baochun’s research interests are in the area of large-scale distributed systems, cloud computing, datacenter networks, applications of network coding, mobile computing, and wireless networks. He enjoys the process of bridging the gap between theory and practice, and of bringing theoretical results to practical implementations. In the past decade, he has worked on applications of control theory, game theory, microeconomics, optimization theory, as well as network coding to address practical challenges. He also loves writing actual code, building real systems from scratch, and making them work efficiently.

In 2000, he was the recipient of the IEEE Communications Society Leonard G. Abraham Prize Paper Award in the Field of Communications Systems, for his paper published in the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. The work represented one of the earliest research results in the area of application-layer Quality of Service adaptations using a control-theoretic model. In 2005, with Ying Zhu (now Associate Professor at University of Ontario Institute of Technology), he received the Best Student Paper Award in the Thirteenth International Workshop on Quality of Service (IWQoS 2005), for his research on modelling application-layer overlay networks with linear capacity constraints. In 2009, he won the Multimedia Communications Best Paper Award from the IEEE Communications Society, with his paper co-authored with Mea Wang (now Associate Professor at the University of Calgary), titled “R2: Random Push with Random Network Coding in Live Peer-to-Peer Streaming,” published in the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications in December 2007. In the same year, at the age of 38, he also won the University of Toronto McLean Award, offered to young and talented researchers to help them continue their first-rate research. In 2014, he has been elevated to the grade of IEEE Fellow, class of 2015. Baochun has co-authored more than 420 research papers, with a total of over 22000 citations, an H-index of 84 and an i10-index of 286, according to Google Scholar Citations.

Baochun has dedicated much of his time and efforts to achieve teaching excellence, by taking advantage of both traditional techniques (the use of chalkboard) and state-of-the-art technologies (animations of algorithms). In classrooms, he prefers simple and well-paced narratives, a clear flow of ideas, and appropriate use of examples. Whenever possible, he introduces more recent research results in his lectures that cover foundational topics. In 2011, he has received a Departmental Teaching Award from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, for excellence in undergraduate teaching. At the age of 39, he was the Inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award (in the “under 40” category), from his Alma mater, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In July 2021, he successfully delivered a two-hour invited talk, titled “Writing Perfect Papers,” to an audience of 17,000 attendees over two simultaneous live streaming sessions on Tencent Meetings and Bilibili Live Streaming (video and slides).

In his academic career, Baochun has always been devoted to professional services, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, as well as in the international academic community. At the University of Toronto, he was the inaugural winner of the ECE Departmental Service Award in 2006, for his leadership and contribution in the development of mission-critical web-based software systems for graduate admissions and undergraduate course selection, in support for the flexible curriculum. He is currently serving as the chair of the Departmental Curriculum Matters Committee, as well as a voting member in the Faculty Curriculum Committee. In the international academic community, he has served as the Program Co-Chair of the 12th IEEE International Workshop on Quality of Service (IWQoS) 2004, the Program Co-Chair of 3rd International Conference on Quality of Service in Heterogeneous Wired/Wireless Networks (QShine 2006), the Program Co-Chair of the 2010 IEEE Symposium on Network Coding (NetCod 2010), the Area TPC Chair of IEEE INFOCOM 2011 and IEEE INFOCOM 2014, the Program Vice Chair of the 31st IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (IEEE ICDCS 2011), the Program Co-Chair of the 19th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP 2011), the Program Co-Chair of the 22nd International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV 2012), the General Chair of the 21st ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Quality of Service (IWQoS 2013). More recently, he has also served as the Panel Co-Chair, Area Chair, and Local Arrangement Co-Chair of IEEE INFOCOM 2014, the Program Track Chair for the Systems, Protocols, and Applications track in the 12th IEEE International Conference on Mobile Ad hoc and Sensor Systems (MASS 2015), the Program Co-Chair of IEEE INFOCOM 2015, the Chief Technology Officer of IEEE INFOCOM 2016 and 2017, as well as the General Chair of IEEE INFOCOM 2020, the first online edition of IEEE INFOCOM.

Baochun runs a Mac-centric group, ranging from an 8-core Mac Pro to Macbook Pros. His personal computer is a late 2021 14-inch Macbook Pro with Apple M1 Max, 64 GB of unified memory, and 1 TB of SSD storage. This website is served with a late 2013 15-inch Macbook Pro with 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB of memory, and 512 GB of SSD storage. When he is not in front of a computer, he enjoys reading a good book, writing with a good fountain pen in notebooks with high quality paper, as well as writing short essays in Chinese. In 2019, he self-published his first book, "Happiness," in Chinese. On the more active side, he enjoys running long distances with his iPhone 13 Pro (and swimming with his 2021 Garmin Instinct Solar), working with free weights following YouTube videos, washing his car, and flying without the Internet on Air Canada transoceanic flights. He has successfully completed a half-marathon in the 2014 Hong Kong Marathon, and four full marathons at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019.