Lili Zhang


Since January 2013, all Lili's study and work have been driven by the following issues. 
  1. How to utilize analytical methods from the area of operations research and data science to solve real-world problems and facilitate the decision making process. 
  2. How to use big data system to handle analytical works involving huge amount of data or computational load.
  3. How to make problem solutions accessible easily and broadly for people by developing program prototypes, automatic systems, and RESTful web services. 
Knowledge and Skills

Lili has project working experiences in the industry of energy, transportation, social media, finance, and database-as-a-service on the cloud computing platform.
  • Data Science
    • Work with different data sources.
    • Clean data.
    • Perform exploratory data analysis to find important features.
    • Build predictive models with appropriate machine learning algorithms.
    • Evaluate predictive models.
    • Use big data system Spark.
    • Automate the data collection, manipulation, and modeling process.
  • Operations Research
    • Optimization
      • Formulate the problem by a mathematical optimization model.
      • Implement solution algorithms to solve the model.
    • Simulation
      • Study a process and build a discrete-event simulation model.
      • Perform experiments on the model to find the potential improvement strategy.
  • Database 
    • Design entity relationship diagrams.
    • Implement data models.
    • Perform administrative tasks (MySQL, Vertica).
    • Interact with the database by object relational mapping.
  • Open source cloud computing platform OpenStack
    • Deploy and configure OpenStack services.
    • Work with OpenStack Python bindings.
    • Perform administrative tasks. 
    • Perform operations on OpenStack services.
  • Full stack web development
    • Develop the web with full stack frameworks like Flask and Django.
    • Develop RESTful APIs.
    • Develop the front-end.
    • Develop the back-end with solution algorithms integrated.
  • System development
    • Draft the system architecture.
    • Design class diagrams.
    • Implement interfaces.
Work Flow

Lili's general working flow is as follows. 
  1. Define the problem.
  2. Perform literature review or online research for the problem and its potential solution methods.
  3. Collect relative data and information. 
  4. Manipulate, clean, and analyze data. 
  5. Build a model for the problem:
    • predictive model with Python, R, or SAS;
    • optimization model with Gurobi or ILOG CPLEX; 
    • simulation model with AnyLogic.
  6. Implement the solution algorithm to solve the model.
  7. Validate the model. 
  8. Design experiments.  
  9. Analyze and interpret model outputs.
  10. Make conclusions with discussions.
  11. Deliver the problem solving procedure and results in a report or orally in a clear way.
  12. Modify code into prototype and make it automatic.