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A roster of the world’s most influential researchers includes a University of Louisiana at Lafayette data scientist – twice.

Of the 3,300 scholars included on Clarivate Analytics’ Highly Cited Researchers list, just 147, including Dr. Xindong Wu, appear in two categories. The director of the University’s School of Computing and Informatics is named in computer science and engineering.

Wu is an expert in data mining, a field of computer science that extracts useful information from data. Public and private entities confront huge amounts of data, and they utilize data mining to make sense of it and to inform decisions, Wu said.

“Data is reality. It is existence. Data is everywhere. Data mining tries to make good use of it.”

Wu joined the UL Lafayette faculty in 2016 with a reputation as a trailblazer.  Although scientists, statisticians and engineers have used data in their work for centuries, data mining as a field didn’t solidify until the mid-1990s.

Since 1993, Wu has published 450 peer-reviewed articles and conference papers in the fields of data mining, and artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering. Knowledge engineering is a field of artificial intelligence focused on the development of computer systems that simulate human thought and logic.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest organization of technology professionals, honored his “pioneering contributions to data mining and applications” when it presented Wu with an achievement award in 2012. It’s among a host of similar recognitions he’s received over the past quarter century.

His latest designation as a Highly Cited Researcher “shows that what I am doing is generating some impact,” Wu said.

“A citation would mean that other researchers are looking at what I am doing. Citing my work would mean they have studied it. They are saying what I am doing is worth their attention.”

Clarivate Analytics operates several subscription-based services focused on academic research. The company assembles the annual Highly Cited Researcher list based on citation statistics from its Web of Science database, which indexes how many times a scholar’s work has been used by other researchers in their own.

The database indexes 169, or about a third, of Wu’s publications. 

But that fraction has been cited more than 5,460 times between 2005 and 2015, and ranks him among the top 1 percent of most-cited scholars in his fields during those 11 years, explained Christopher King, Clarivate Analytics’ editorial content manager.

“Such consistent production of highly cited reports indicates that the work of these researchers has been repeatedly judged by their peers to be of notable significance and utility,” King said in a company press release.

The roster categorizes scholars in 21 science and social science fields, but doesn’t rank them by number of publications or how many times they’ve been cited. 

Wu is among 151 researchers in the computer science category, and 175 in engineering.

That puts him among scholars from powerhouses in both fields – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National University of Singapore, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Tsinghua University in China.

“Who else is on the list is an indication of the caliber scholar Dr. Wu is,” said Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, UL Lafayette’s vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development. “The fact that one of our faculty members is on this objective list of global researchers is a matter of great pride and honor for the University.

“He is a superstar in the area of data science.”

Caption: Dr. Xindong Wu, director of UL Lafayette’s School of Computing and Informatics and an expert in data mining, meets with graduate students recently in Oliver Hall. [Credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette]