A Good Researcher in the Computer Science Complex

He is following his heart…

by Will Yang

February 19th, 2013 at 10:00 in the morning, the weather looks very cloudy, and people feel very cold outside, but in the meeting room located at the Deschutes Hall 260, Professor Jun Li and his lab students are sitting as a half-circle in the classroom, and Li is listening to every student report how is each of their research going. The topic of the meeting is about the security system they are researching called DNS Security.


Jun Li, photo by Linhan Yang

Li is an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Oregon. Li directs the Network & Security Research Laboratory at the University. He points out Network and Security are two different parts of the Network & Security

When Li talked about the reason why he decided to choose the Computer Science on the last day before the meeting, he said that he made this decision was “following his heart.” In fact, Li said that when he was studying at the Peking University, he selected Geophysics as his major, but after one year, he was thinking, “what do I want to do in the future?”

“Didn’t like I am going to be physicist or geophysicist,” Li says “I feel like I can do better (on the Computer Science), at that time (1989) Computer Science was not hot field yet, but I felt it should be very hot in the future.” He also said that when he was in high school in China, he learned some basic knowledge about computer science, it let him to understand more about the computer science.

In the classroom, after Li listened to each of his student’s reporting, he gave each of them some suggestions. He says they have to do more research about their topic, and use time more effectively. He also reminds his students that there is only a few days left until their research paper is due

When Li was talking about the reason why he came to the United States to continue to his study after he graduated from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, he took a few moments to think about “Curiosity is(was) the most significant driving force, I simply feel so curious to learn how American people were study(ing) computer science.”

“He is a good researcher,” said Ghulam Memon, who is a graduate student of Li. “It is easy to discuss with him, and get his feedback.”

After every one reports the situation about their research, the results of the research do not satisfy Li. He tells them they have to reasonably arrange their time.

“If you finish your work today, you can relax tomorrow, but if you postpone it to tomorrow, you probably won’t finish tomorrow,” he says, and he also use both of his hands as a body language to describe his meaning. “You may have this trouble, or that trouble, but just let (us) use all energy, 100%, talk to each other, do work harder.”

When Li was explaining why he decided to become a professor at the university, and did not go to work for a computer industry. “I think the academics give me more freedom, you decide what (you) would like to work on.” He likes to do research, and he thinks his work, which is about social networking and against network security attacks, may not have an impact immediately, but it may have some positive effect in ten years.

Li also said academics can provide freedom whit one’s time; “In summer, you have 3 months, that is another big time window.” He decides when he will do research, and when he will go traveling. He says he would like to go to other universities to do research.

“I always like to work this young people.” Li said this is the top reason why he selected to work at a university. “Working with students, teaching them how to do the research, I see that is pretty fun part as well.”

“Simply, it is very exciting,” Li was explaining as the reason he choose this research direction.

He pointed out the people who live in the society not only live in a physical space, but also live in a cyber space. He gave the example that people will use the internet to talk with friends, also people will play online video games, etc. He says some people have two identities, the one is in the real society, and the other one is in the cyberspace. “What is the best way to connect to people (in the cyber space),” Li introduced his research, “I see this type of research can have an impact in people’s life.”

Li says between each computer, there is also existing a type of language just like how people can talk to each other by Chinese, or English, etc. He also talked about how securing the cyber space is another important topic that he is doing research on. “They are very interesting.”

He says his research is going to find out the best way to protect users information when the users are using the interent to do their work. He says he already spent around 15 years of his life working on the research about the Network & Security.

“It is like practice Chinese Kung Fu very much,” when Li talked about how to study the Computer science effectively for the international students. He says when people can go through the governor and conception vessels; they can practice Kung Fu very well. It is just the same as computer science, when the students can connect all the knowledge together, they can find out a way to study computer science.

After almost two hours, the lab meeting is over. One of his students still has questions about the research paper; Li says that student can go to his office to talk about it. Li found out in his life following his heart means teaching young people and doing researching at the university.

About Linhan Yang

A Chinese student at the University of Oregon.
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