Fei-Fei Li


Fei-Fei Li
Fei-Fei Li at AI for Good 2017.jpg
Li at AI for Good in 2017
Born1976 (age 45–46)[1]
Alma materPrinceton University (B.A. in Physics)
California Institute of Technology (2005, PhD)
Known forComputer vision
Machine learning
Artificial intelligence
AI and Healthcare
Cognitive neuroscience
AwardsElected to National Academy of Engineering (2020), National Academy of Medicine (2020), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2021), ACM Fellow for "contributions in building large knowledge bases for machine learning and visual understanding" (2018), J.K. Aggarwal Prize, International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) (2016), One of the 40 “The great immigrants,” Carnegie Foundation (2016), Sloan Fellowship (2011), Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship (2006), Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans (1999)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Science
InstitutionsStanford University
ThesisVisual Recognition: Computational Models and Human Psychophysics (2005)
Doctoral advisorPietro Perona
Christof Koch
Doctoral studentsOlga Russakovsky
Timnit Gebru
Andrej Karpathy

Fei-Fei Li (simplified Chinese: 李飞飞; traditional Chinese: 李飛飛; born 1976) is an American computer scientist. She is the Sequoia Capital Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.[2] Li is a Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and a Co-Director of the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab.[3][4] She served as the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL)[5] from 2013 to 2018.

In 2017, she co-founded AI4ALL, a nonprofit organization working to increase diversity and inclusion in the field of artificial intelligence.[6][7] Her research expertise includes artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning, computer vision and cognitive neuroscience.[8] She was the leading scientist and principal investigator of ImageNet.[9]

Li was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2020 for contributions in building large knowledge bases for machine learning and visual understanding. She is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

Early life and education

Li was born in Beijing, China in 1976 and grew up in Chengdu. When she was 12, her father moved to the US; when she was 15, she and her mother joined him in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey.[10] She graduated from Parsippany High School in 1995,[10][11] where she was inducted to the Hall of Fame of Parsippany High School in 2017.[12]

Li majored in physics but also studied computer science and engineering as an undergraduate student at Princeton University, from where she graduated with high honors with an A.B. in physics and certificates in applied and computational mathematics and engineering physics in 1999.[13] Li completed her senior thesis, titled "Auditory Binaural Correlogram Difference: A New Computational Model for Huggins Dichotic Pitch", under the supervision of Professor of Electrical Engineering Bradley Dickinson.[14] During her years at Princeton, she returned home most weekends so that she could work in her parents' dry-cleaning store.[10]

Li then pursued graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology, where she received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2005. Li completed her dissertation, titled "Visual Recognition: Computational Models and Human Psychophysics", under the primary supervision of Pietro Perona and secondary supervision of Christof Koch. Her graduate studies were supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.[15]


From 2005 to August 2009, Li was an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Computer Science Department at Princeton University, respectively. She joined Stanford in 2009 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2012, and then full professor in 2017.[16] At Stanford, Li served as the director of Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) from 2013 to 2018. She became the founding co-director of Stanford's University-level initiative - the Human-Centered AI Institute, along with co-director Dr. John Etchemendy, former provost of Stanford University.[17]

On her sabbatical from Stanford University from January 2017 to fall of 2018, Li joined Google Cloud as its Chief Scientist of AI/ML and Vice President.[18] At Google, her team focused on democratizing AI technology and lowering the barrier for entrance to businesses and developers,[19] including the developments of products like AutoML.[20][21]

In September 2017, Google secured a contract from the Department of Defense called Project Maven, which aimed to use AI techniques to interpret images captured by drone cameras.[22][23] Google told employees who protested the company's work on Project Maven that their role was "specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes."[24] In June 2018, Google told employees it would not seek renewal of the contract.[23] In internal emails which were later leaked to reporters, Li expressed enthusiasm for the Google Cloud role in Project Maven, but warned against mentioning its AI component, saying that military AI is linked in the public mind with the danger of autonomous weapons. Asked about those leaked emails, Li told The New York Times, "I believe in human-centered AI to benefit people in positive and benevolent ways. It is deeply against my principles to work on any project that I think is to weaponize AI."[25]

In the fall of 2018, Li left Google and returned to Stanford University to continue her professorship.[26]

Li is also known for her nonprofit work as the co-founder and chairperson of nonprofit organization AI4ALL, whose mission is to educate the next generation of AI technologists, thinkers and leaders by promoting diversity and inclusion through human-centered AI principles.[27][28][29][30] The program was created in collaboration with Melinda Gates and Jensen Huang.[31] [32]

Prior to establishing AI4ALL in 2017, Li and her former student Olga Russakovsky,[33] currently an assistant professor in Princeton University, co-founded and co-directed the precursor program at Stanford called SAILORS (Stanford AI Lab OutReach Summers).[34][35] SAILORS was an annual summer camp at Stanford dedicated to 9th grade high school girls in AI education and research, established in 2015 till it changed its name to AI4ALL @Stanford in 2017.[35] In 2018, AI4ALL has successfully launched five more summer programs in addition to Stanford, including Princeton University,[36] Carnegie Mellon University,[37] Boston University,[38] U. of California Berkeley,[39] and Canada's Simon Fraser University.[40]

We are at a turning point. AI’s influence continues to grow, but representation and inclusion of a diversity of researchers in the field does not. It’s critical that we seize this moment to create structures that will support long-term, positive changes. This won’t happen via a single mechanism or quick fix. It starts with early education and extends to the existing structures of power within academia, work cultures among current AI researchers, and gatekeeping functions of research publishing, to name a few levers of change.

— Fei-Fei Li and Tess Posner, Nature[41]

Li has been described as an "AI pioneer" and a "researcher bringing humanity to AI".[42]

Li was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021,[43] the National Academy of Engineering,[44] and the National Academy of Medicine in 2020.[45]

In May 2020, Li joined the board of directors of Twitter as an independent director.[46]


Li works on AI, machine learning, computer vision, cognitive neuroscience and computational neuroscience. She has published more than 300 peer-reviewed research papers.[47] Her work appears in computer science and neuroscience journals including Nature,[48] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,[49] Journal of Neuroscience,[50] Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, International Conference on Computer Vision, Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, European Conference on Computer Vision, International Journal of Computer Vision, and IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.[51] Among her best-known work is the ImageNet project, which has revolutionized the field of large-scale visual recognition.[1][52][53][54][55]

Li has led the team of students and collaborators to organize the international competition on ImageNet recognition tasks called ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) between 2010 and 2017 in the academic community.[56]

Li's research in computer vision contributed significantly to a line of work called Natural Scene Understanding, or later, Story-telling of images.[57] She is a recognized for her work in this area by the International Association for Pattern Recognition in 2016.[58] She delivered a talk on the main stage of TED in Vancouver in 2015, and has since then been viewed more than 2 million times.[58]

In recent years, Fei-Fei Li's research work expanded to AI and Healthcare, collaborating closely with Stanford Medical School professor Arnold Milstein.[59]


She teaches the Stanford course CS231n on "Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition",[60] whose 2015 version was previously online at Coursera.[61] She has also taught CS131, an introductory class on computer vision.[62]

Selected honors and awards


Li contributed one chapter to Architects of Intelligence: The Truth About AI from the People Building it (2018) by the American futurist Martin Ford.[84]


  1. ^ a b Markoff, John (November 19, 2012). "Seeking a Better Way to Find Web Images". The New York Times. Dr. Li, 36
  2. ^ "Profiles: Fei-Fei Li". Stanford University.
  3. ^ "Leadership".
  4. ^ "Stanford Vision and Learning Lab (SVL)".
  5. ^ "Home". Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
  6. ^ "Melinda Gates and Fei-Fei Li Want to Liberate AI from "Guys With Hoodies"". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  7. ^ "AI4ALL - Official Website". ai-4-all.org. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  8. ^ "Fei-Fei Li Ph.D. - Professor, Stanford University".
  9. ^ Gershgorn, Dave. "The data that transformed AI research—and possibly the world". Quartz.
  10. ^ a b c Hempel, Jessi (November 13, 2018). "Fei-Fei Li's Quest To Make Ai Better For Humanity". Wired. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Press release" (PDF). phs.pthsd.k12.nj.us.
  12. ^ "Parsippany High School to induct members to hall of fame". 29 January 2017.
  13. ^ "CV of Fei-Fei Li". Stanford University.
  14. ^ Li, Fei Fei (1999). "Auditory Binaural Correlogram Difference: A New Computational Model for Huggins Dichotic Pitch". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ "Meet the Fellows | Fei-Fei Li". www.pdsoros.org.
  16. ^ "Fei-Fei Li's Profile | Stanford Profiles". profiles.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  17. ^ "Human-Centered AI". hai.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  18. ^ "Google Hires Two Artificial Intelligence Experts To Lead Machine Learning Team". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  19. ^ "Google Cloud Next '17 data, analytics and machine learning session video now online". Google Cloud Blog. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  20. ^ "Cloud AutoML: Making AI accessible to every business". Google Cloud Blog. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  21. ^ "Empowering businesses and developers to do more with AI". Google. 2018-07-24. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  22. ^ "A U.S. Secret Weapon in A.I.: Chinese Talent". The New York Times. 2020-06-09. The Google team worked to build technology that could automatically identify vehicles, buildings and other objects in video footage captured by drones
  23. ^ a b Conger, Kate (June 1, 2018). "Google Plans Not to Renew Its Contract for Project Maven, a Controversial Pentagon Drone AI Imaging Program". Gizmodo. Retrieved March 18, 2021. Google secured the Project Maven contract in late September, the emails reveal, after competing for months against several other “AI heavyweights” for the work...One of the terms of Google’s contract with the Defense Department was that Google’s involvement not be mentioned without the company’s permission, the emails state.
  24. ^ Shane, Scott; Wakabayashi, Daisuke (April 4, 2018). "'The Business of War': Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon". New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2021. Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.
  25. ^ Shane, Scott (May 30, 2018). "How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google". New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2021. Asked about her September email, Dr. Li issued a statement: 'I believe in human-centered AI to benefit people in positive and benevolent ways. It is deeply against my principles to work on any project that I think is to weaponize AI.'
  26. ^ "Google Cloud AI: Andrew Moore joining Google Cloud; Fei-Fei Li becoming advisor". Google Cloud Blog. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  27. ^ Hempel, Jessi (2017-05-04). "Melinda Gates and Fei-Fei Li Want to Liberate AI from "Guys With Hoodies"". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  28. ^ "Artificial intelligence has a racial bias problem. Google is funding summer camps to try to change that". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  29. ^ "AI4All, created by Google Cloud's Fei-Fei Li, is pairing tech workers and high school students on AI projects". VentureBeat. 2018-02-03. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  30. ^ Herold, Benjamin (2017-09-27). "Preparing Students for Tomorrow's Jobs: 10 Experts Offer Advice to Educators - Education Week". Education Week. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  31. ^ Johnson, Khari (May 17, 2017). "Google unveils second-generation TPU chips to accelerate machine learning". Venture Beat. Retrieved March 30, 2021. Earlier this month, Li joined Melinda Gates and NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang to create AI4All, an organization dedicated to encouraging AI adoption among communities underrepresented in AI.
  32. ^ Castellanos, Sara (2020-08-10). "The Changes AI Will Bring". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-01-19.
  33. ^ "Olga Russakovsky". www.cs.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  34. ^ Alba, Davey (2015-08-31). "This Girls' Summer Camp Could Help Change the World of AI". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  35. ^ a b "Welcome to Stanford AI4ALL | Stanford AI4ALL". ai4all.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  36. ^ "AI will change the world. Who will change AI? | Princeton AI4ALL". ai4all.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  37. ^ "Pre-College Artificial Intelligence | Carnegie Mellon". admission.enrollment.cmu.edu. Archived from the original on 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  38. ^ "AI4ALL". www.bu.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  39. ^ "home". bair.berkeley.edu. Archived from the original on 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  40. ^ "Invent the Future - Simon Fraser University". www.sfu.ca. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  41. ^ Posner, Tess; Fei-Fei, Li (2020-12-09). "AI will change the world, so it's time to change AI". Nature. 588 (7837): S118–S118. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03412-z.
  42. ^ "An AI Pioneer, and the Researcher Bringing Humanity to AI". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  43. ^ "Ten Stanford faculty members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences". AAAS at Stanford. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  44. ^ "Three Stanford faculty elected to the National Academy of Engineering | Department of Chemistry". chemistry.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  45. ^ "Five professors elected to National Academy of Medicine". NAM at Stanford. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  46. ^ "Twitter adds former Google VP and A.I. guru Fei-Fei Li to board as it seeks to play catch up with Google and Facebook". cnbc.com. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  47. ^ "Li Fei-Fei - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  48. ^ Peelen, Marius V.; Fei-Fei, Li; Kastner, Sabine (2002). "Neural mechanisms of rapid natural scene categorization in human visual cortex". Nature. 460 (7251): 94–97. doi:10.1038/nature08103. PMC 2752739. PMID 19506558.
  49. ^ Fei-Fei, Li; VanRullen, Rufin; Koch, Christof; Perona, Pietro (2002). "Rapid natural scene categorization in the near absence of attention". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 99 (14): 9596–601. Bibcode:2002PNAS...99.9596L. doi:10.1073/pnas.092277599. PMC 123186. PMID 12077298.
  50. ^ Stanley, Garrett B; Fei-Fei, Li; Dan, Yang (1999). "Reconstruction of natural scenes from ensemble responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus". Journal of Neuroscience. 19 (18): 8036–8042. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.19-18-08036.1999. PMC 6782475. PMID 10479703.
  51. ^ "Stanford Computer Vision Lab : Publications". vision.stanford.edu.
  52. ^ Markoff, John (August 18, 2014). "Computer Eyesight Gets a Lot More Accurate". The New York Times.
  53. ^ "imagenet 2014 « Deep Learning". Deeplearning.net. 2014-09-19. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  54. ^ Deng, Jia; Dong, Wei; Socher, Richard; Li, Li-Jia; Li, Kai; Fei-Fei, Li (2009). "Imagenet: A large-scale hierarchical image database". CVPR.
  55. ^ "ImageNet". image-net.org.
  56. ^ Russakovsky, Olga; Deng, Jia; Su, Hao; Krause, Jonathan; Satheesh, Sanjeev; Ma, Sean; Huang, Zhiheng; Karpathy, Andrej; Khosla, Aditya; Bernstein, Michael; Berg, Alexander C.; Fei-Fei, Li (2014). "ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge". arXiv:1409.0575 [cs.CV].
  57. ^ Markoff, John (2014-11-17). "Researchers Announce Advance in Image-Recognition Software". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  58. ^ a b c "IAPR - IAPR Awards". www.iapr.org. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  59. ^ "Arnold Milstein's Profile | Stanford Profiles". profiles.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  60. ^ "Stanford University CS231n: Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition". cs231n.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  61. ^ "Machine learning courses online - FastML". fastml.com. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  62. ^ "Stanford University CS 131 Computer Vision: Foundations and Applications". vision.stanford.edu.
  63. ^ "ACM Names 71 Fellows for Computing Advances that are Driving Innovation". Association for Computing Machinery. January 19, 2022. Retrieved 2022-01-19.
  64. ^ "New Members". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  65. ^ "Member". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  66. ^ "Member". National Academy of Medicine. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  67. ^ "winner". Caltech. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  68. ^ "Member". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  69. ^ "Dr. Fei-Fei Li". AnitaB.org. 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  70. ^ 2018 ACM Fellows Honored for Pivotal Achievements that Underpin the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery, December 5, 2018
  71. ^ "Fei-Fei Li". Forbes.
  72. ^ "Subcommittee on Research and Technology and Subcommittee on Energy Hearing - Artificial Intelligence – With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility". Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. 2018-06-26. Archived from the original on 2018-12-27. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  73. ^ "Athena Awards cap Women in Tech symposium". CITRIS and the Banatao Institute. 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  74. ^ Langmuir, Molly (2017-07-12). "ELLE's 2017 Women in Tech: Star Tech Voyagers". ELLE. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  75. ^ "Mark Everingham Prize • IEEE Computer Society". www.computer.org. Archived from the original on 2018-12-27. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  76. ^ York, Carnegie Corporation of New. "2016 Great Immigrants". Carnegie Corporation of New York.
  77. ^ Blanco, Octavio (2016-07-21). "One immigrant's path from cleaning houses to Stanford professor". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  78. ^ "The Leading Global Thinkers of 2015 - Foreign Policy". 2015globalthinkers.foreignpolicy.com. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  79. ^ "Past Fellows". sloan.org. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  80. ^ "CVPR 2010: IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition". tab.computer.org. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  81. ^ "NSF Award Search: Award#0845230 - CAREER: Telling the Story of a Visual World: Event Classification and Integrated Image Understanding". www.nsf.gov. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  82. ^ "Microsoft Research Recognizes Computer Science's Most Promising Professors With New Faculty Fellowships". Stories. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  83. ^ "Meet the Fellows | Fei-Fei Li". www.pdsoros.org. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  84. ^ Falcon, William (November 30, 2018). "This Is The Future Of AI According To 23 World-Leading AI Experts". Forbes. Retrieved March 20, 2019.

External links

  • Official website
  • Fei-Fei Li at TED Edit this at Wikidata