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Xin Liu

Profile picture for Xin Liu

Contact Information

210 Astronomy
1002 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL
Associate Professor


Prof. Xin Liu received her B.S. in Physics from Tsinghua University in 2004 and her Ph.D in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University in 2010 under the guidance of Prof. Michael A. Strauss. Before joining UIUC in 2015, she was a NASA Einstein Fellow at Harvard and a Hubble Fellow at UCLA. 

Research Interests

Artificial and natural intelligence

Astronomical survey and data science

Multi-messenger and time-domain astrophysics

Research Description

Astronomy has always been driven by data. Yet only in recent years has it truly become a big data field. With automatic surveys recording the sky at unprecedented speed, the sheer volume of astronomical data introduces new challenges and opportunities. Modern Astronomy pushes the boundaries of data analysis and artificial intelligence, providing a great domain for machine learning (ML) research. The discipline is entering a phase of maturation, progressing beyond the simplistic utilization of pre-packaged, opaque ML models and evolving towards methodologies where ML plays an essential role within a broader, principled analysis framework. Our current research is focused on three evolving domains where the intersection of ML and astronomy forms symbiosis: (1) Physics-informed learning, (2) Statistical learning with probabilistic frameworks, offering capabilities such as uncertainty quantification and generative models, and (3) Transparent and interpretable ML models for scientific analyses, emphasizing robustness, accuracy, and comprehensibility.


Ph.D., Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, 2010
M.A., Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, 2008
M.S., Physics, Tsinghua University, 2006
B.S., Physics, Tsinghua University, 2004

Awards and Honors

Norman P. Jones Professorial Scholar, 2023-2026

NCSA Faculty Fellow, 2020 & 2023

Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor, 2019

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Astronomy
Associate Professor, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)

Recent Publications

Burke, C. J., Liu, X., & Shen, Y. (2024). Gemini near-infrared spectroscopy of high-redshift Fermi Blazars: Jetted Black Holes in the early universe were overly massive. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 527(3), 5356-5365. Article stad3592.

Zeltyn, G., Trakhtenbrot, B., Eracleous, M., Yang, Q., Green, P., Anderson, S. F., LaMassa, S., Runnoe, J., Assef, R. J., Bauer, F. E., Brandt, W. N., Davis, M. C., Frederick, S. E., Fries, L. B., Graham, M. J., Grogin, N. A., Guolo, M., Hernández-García, L., Koekemoer, A. M., ... Kollmeier, J. A. (2024). Exploring Changing-look Active Galactic Nuclei with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey V: First Year Results. Astrophysical Journal, 966(1), Article 85.

Almeida, A., Anderson, S. F., Argudo-Fernández, M., Badenes, C., Barger, K., Barrera-Ballesteros, J. K., Bender, C. F., Benitez, E., Besser, F., Bird, J. C., Bizyaev, D., Blanton, M. R., Bochanski, J., Bovy, J., Brandt, W. N., Brownstein, J. R., Buchner, J., Bulbul, E., Burchett, J. N., ... Zasowski, G. (2023). The Eighteenth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys: Targeting and First Spectra from SDSS-V. Astrophysical Journal, Supplement Series, 267(2), Article 44.

Annunziatella, M., Sajina, A., Stefanon, M., Marchesini, D., Lacy, M., Labbé, I., Houston, L., Bezanson, R., Egami, E., Fan, X., Farrah, D., Greene, J., Goulding, A., Lin, Y. T., Liu, X., Moutard, T., Ono, Y., Ouchi, M., Sawicki, M., ... Whitaker, K. (2023). The Spitzer Coverage of HSC-Deep with IRAC for Z studies (SHIRAZ). I. IRAC Mosaics. Astronomical Journal, 166(1), Article 25.

Benítez, E., Ibarra-Medel, H., Negrete, C. A., Cruz-González, I., Rodríguez-Espinosa, J. M., Liu, X., & Shen, Y. (2023). 3D Spectroscopy with GTC-MEGARA of the Triple AGN Candidate in SDSS J102700.40+174900.8. Astrophysical Journal, 952(1), Article 45.

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