Hongyang Zhang photo 

Hongyang R. Zhang

Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Khoury College of Computer Sciences
Northeastern University

177 Huntington Ave, Room 2211
[Google Scholar]  [Resume]

Hi! I am an assistant professor of computer science at Northeastern University. I am interested in questions related to machine learning algorithms, social networks, learning theory, and data-related questions more broadly; Current focus is machine learning methodologies and social network algorithms, including multi-task and transfer learning, data augmentation, network intervention, fairness, and robustness. I am a member of the Statstical Machine Learning group and the Theory group.

Lots of progress has been made to develop algorithms and predictive models for understanding data. These developments are promising, though in many cases the reason of when and why a learning algorithm might work are not well-understood. This presents a barrier for the technology to be broadly adopted and communicated. During my PhD, I worked on understanding the dynamics of non-convex optimization algorithms such as SGD in over-parametrized neural networks (COLT 2018). My recent work has aimed at designing tangible algorithms for practical use, often taking a combination of theoretical and empirical perspectives. One particular problem I have been focusing on over the last few years is whether and how to learn from multiple datasets, since new datasets and large (pre-trained) models are becoming available online. To this end, we have developed a framework to think about what information transfer means in the context of multi-task learning (ICLR 2020, arXiv 2021). Meanwhile, we have designed fine-tuning algorithms to reduce over-fitting (NeurIPS 2021). From a different perspective, my work has examined the generalization effects of data augmentation (ICML 2020). In this direction, we are interested in quantifying the impact of modifying data, as opposed to modifying the algorithm. Last but not least, I'm working on social network algorithms (KDD 2016) such as designing intervention measures on mobility networks.

Prospective students: I'm looking for PhD students who are strong in programming and self-motivated to join my research group, to begin at Fall 2022. If you are interested, please apply to Northeastern's CS PhD program and mention my name in the application. Feel free to send me an email to touch base and let me know if you need help regarding the application fee.

For master's students who are already at Northeastern and interested in exploring ML and networks, we have projects that could use your help. Feel free to send me your CV and describe your interests. Due to a large volume of requests, my response may be delayed though; I apologize in advance. Thanks!

Recent updates


(asterisk indicates alphabetical authorship or equal contribution)





I am fortunate to work with the following students.

PhD students

Dongyue Li (since Fall 2021)

Master's students

Haotian Ju (since Spring 2021)
Virender Singh (since Fall 2021)

You could also find other faculty who work on related topics at Northeatern in the Statstical Machine Learning group and the Theory group.



Blog posts


My Chinese name written in Chinese characters is 张泓洋.