(*) Here is my tech blog, check it out if you are interested in machine/deep/reinforcement learning.

Who am I?

Hi I'm Lilian Weng (翁荔)! Currently I'm working in the Robotics team @ OpenAI. Before that I worked for Affirm on the credit underwriting model and Dropbox on various projects related to data science and production engineering.

I was a Ph.D. student in Complex Networks and Systems, IUB and a member of CNetS, where I closely collaborated with Prof. Filippo Menczer, Alessandro Flammini, and Yong-Yeol Ahn on research projects on information diffusion, social contagion, and modeling.

The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.

Martin A. Schwartz, The importance of stupidity in scientific research.

"... the world's most powerful graphics chip: Imagination!"

Sheldon Cooper, The big bang theory, SE04EP06.

Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Work Experience

  • Member of Technical Staff @ Robotics Team, OpenAI.
  • Staff Data Scientist / Machine Learning Engineer @ Data Science Team, Affirm Inc.
  • Product Engineer @ Content & Workflows + Data Scientist @ Data Science Team, Dropbox Inc.
  • Software Engineer Intern + Data Scientist Intern @ Data Science Team, Facebook Inc.
  • User Research Intern @ User Research Team, Mozilla Corporation.
  • Research Intern @ eBay Research Lab, eBay Inc.


  1. Systems and Methods to Predict Meme Virality Using Network Structure.
    Owners: Yong-Yeol Ahn, Lilian Weng and Filippo Menczer.
    Publication No.: WO 2014159540 A1; USPTO No.: US 2016/0042284 A1. Filed Mar 12, 2014.
  2. Method and System for Efficiently Serving Upsell Content based on Complex User Archetypes.
    Owners: Viraj Mody, Robert Kajic, Pranav Piyush, and Lilian Weng.
    Dropbox Ref. No.: P535US1; USPTO No.: US 2016/0253708 A1. Filed Feb 26, 2015.
  3. Managing Projects in a Content Management System.
    Owners: Min Ming Lo, Matteus Pan, Linjie Ding and Lilian Weng
    Dropbox Ref. No.: P735US1; DLA Piper Ref. No.: 381805-306500. Filed Dec 30, 2016.


  • Ph.D. in Complex Networks and Systems.
    School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University Bloomington, USA.
    Thesis: Information Diffusion on Social Networks.
  • Bachelor; Double major in Information Management and Systems & Computer Science
    Peking University, China.
    Thesis: Social Network Analysis of Online Question-Answer System.
  • Bachelor Exchange Study.
    Information Systems, School of Business,Hong Kong University, Hong Kong.


  1. Lilian Weng.
    Information Diffusion on Online Social Networks. (My thesis!)
    2014. [PDF][ProQuest][Slides]
  2. Lilian Weng and Filippo Menczer.
    Topicality and Impact in Social Media: Diverse Messages, Focused Messengers.
    PLoS ONE 10(2): e0118410. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118410. 2015. [PLOSONE][arXiv][Dataset][Dataset README]
  3. Lilian Weng, Filippo Menczer, and Alessandro Flammini.
    [Book Chapter] Online Interactions.
    Social Phenomena: From Data to Models, Springer, forthcoming.
  4. Lilian Weng, Filippo Menczer, and Yong-Yeol Ahn.
    Predicting Meme Virality in Social Networks using Network and Community Structure.
    To appear in 8th AAAI Intl. Conf. on Weblogs and social media (ICWSM). 2014. [PDF][arXiv][Proceeding]
  5. Lilian Weng and Thomas Lento.
    Topic-based Clusters in Egocentric Networks on Facebook.
    To appear in 8th AAAI Intl. Conf. on Weblogs and social media (ICWSM). 2014. [PDF][Proceeding]
  6. Lilian Weng, Filippo Menczer, and Yong-Yeol Ahn.
    Virality Prediction and Community Structure in Social Networks.
    Nature Scientific Report. (3)2522, 2013. [Sci.Rep][arXiv1306.0158v2][Supp][Slides][Video]
    [Dataset][Dataset README]
    Selected Media coverage: Scientific American
  7. Lilian Weng, Jacob Ratkiewicz, Nicola Perra, Bruno Gonçalves, Carlos Castillo, Francesco Bonchi, Rossano Schifanella, Filippo Menczer, and Alessandro Flammini.
    The Role of Information Diffusion in the Evolution of Social Networks.
    Proc. 19th ACM SIGKDD Intl. Conf. on Knowledge discovery and data mining (KDD). 2013. [ACM-DL][arXiv:1302.6276][Video]
  8. Lilian Weng and Filippo Menczer.
    [Book Chapter] Computational Analysis of Collective Behaviors via Agent-Based Modeling.
    Handbook of Human Computation, Springer, 2013. [PDF][Springer]
  9. Lilian Weng and Filippo Menczer.
    Emergent Semantics from Game-induced Folksonomies.
    Proc. ACM SIGKDD Crowdsourcing and Data Mining Workshop (CrowdKDD). 2012. [PDF][ACM-DL]
  10. Lilian Weng, Alessandro Flammini, Alessandro Vespignani and Filippo Menczer.
    Competitions among topics in a world with limited attention.
    Nature Scientific Report. (2)335, 2012. [PDF][Sci.Rep]
    Selected Media coverage: NewScientist, TheAtlantic, NRC, Information Week, Quartz
  11. Lilian Weng and Filippo Menczer.
    Context Visualization for Social Bookmark Management.
    Technical Report 1211.6799 [cs.HC], arXiv. 2012. [arXiv:1211.6799]
  12. Lilian Weng, Alessandro Flammini and Filippo Menczer.
    An Information Propagation Model Based on User Interests.
    Proc. 8th International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS). June 26-July 1 2011, Boston, MA, USA. [Proceeding]
  13. Lilian Weng, Rossano Schifanella and Filippo Menczer.
    Design of Social Games for Collecting Reliable Semantic Annotations.
    Proc. 16th IEEE International Conference on Computer Games (CGAMES). July 27-30, 2011. [PDF][IEEE-Xplore]
  14. Lilian Weng, Rossano Schifanella and Filippo Menczer.
    The Chain Model for Social Tagging Game Design.
    Proc. ACM Intl. Conf. on Foundation of Digital Games (FDG). 2011. [PDF][ACM-DL]
  15. Li(Lilian) Weng and Filippo Menczer.
    GiveALink Tagging Game: An Incentive for Social Annotation.
    Proc. ACM SIGKDD Human Computation Workshop (SIGKDD-HComp). 2010. [PDF][ACM-DL]


I started running half Marathon since 2015, and since then running becomes a big part of my life. I also love skiing and hope one day I can jump out of Corbet's Couloir at Jackson Hole!

I used to do painting often (Click Here) on both canvas (acrylic) and computer (Photoshop/SAI with Wacom Intuos paiting tablet). I enjoy design as well. I've learnt Japanese a bit. I used to be a huge fan of Japanese anime & manga and play PC & PSP games. Btw, if you haven't played Danganronpa, go buy one now.