Bio/Personal


AnHai Doan is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He obtained a BS from Kossuth Lajos University in Debrecen, Hungary, a MS from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle, all in Computer Science. His interests cover databases, AI, and Web, with a current focus on data integration, data science, big data, and machine learning. AnHai received the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2003, a CAREER Award in 2004, and a Sloan Fellowship in 2007. He co-authored ``Principles of Data Integration'', a textbook published by Morgan-Kaufmann in 2012. AnHai has also consulted extensively and been involved in several startups. He was on the Advisory Board of Transformic, a Deep Web startup acquired by Google in 2005, and was Chief Scientist of Kosmix, a social media startup acquired by Walmart in 2011. From 2011 to 2014 he was Chief Scientist of WalmartLabs, a newly formed research and development lab at Walmart, devoted to analyzing and integrating data for e-commerce. From 2015 until now he has been devoting most of his effort toward developing a research/teaching/service agenda for data science at UW-Madison (and also to managing a toddler and a teenager).


Some more data points:
  • I grew up in Vietnam. I attended high school in Vinh, Nghe An, from 1983-1986, learned Hungarian from 1986-1988, then attended university in Debrecen, Hungary from 1988-1993 (taking one year off in 1992 to chill). I came to the US in 1993 and have been here ever since.
  • I have been involved in a wild range of situations, "been there, done that" (which makes life interesting :):
    • When I was two years old, I vividly remember being in a bomb shelter with my mom, with American bombs exploding in the distance.
    • I grew up in rural central Vietnam, with no electricity. I did not see an audio cassette player until age 17.
    • I walked barefoot to high school in near-zero Celsius temperature and often did not have enough to eat. (It was a very trying time in Vietnam for pretty much everyone.)
    • In my undergrad time in Hungary, I didn't study much, mostly partied, and ran a successful side business. I had my own car, own rental apartment, and in general living large (probably making up for my high-school time).
    • In the US I have been a grad student, a professor, an employee at a startup, as well as an employee at a big company. My memory of startup is that people played ping pong non-stop right next to my ear. My memory of a big company is the company slogan that people used to start an email with (reminding me a bit of Vietnam :).
    • And a lot more ... There have definitely been a lot of twists and turns. Who knows what will come next.
  • A short interview in SIGMOD Record in 2008

An old bio, written when I finished my Ph.D.: AnHai Doan grew up in a small fishing village in rural North-Central Vietnam. Even at an early age, he already showed an exceptional ability to move west. After high school in Vinh, Nghe An, he moved to Hungary, where he earned a B.S. degree from Kossuth Lajos University in 1993. Next, he landed in Wisconsin, where he drank beer, listened to (too) much jazz and blues, and earned a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1996. Then he moved again, this time going as far west as he could, finally ending up in Seattle. There, he switched to coffee (lots of it!), salmon, hiking, and partying. He fell in love, broke up, got married, had a baby, founded a global mailing list, had fun working on several research projects, irritated his advisors, published a few papers, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2002. All of his hard-earned degrees are in Computer Science.
P.S. In Fall 2002, he moved east to become a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign.
AnHai's picture 2
Mountain View, California, 2010

Quotes

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Random (in Vietnamese)

Hoa Lo^ng Cho^ng Tre^n Ca't

Tro+`i tu+` dda^y cha(?ng xanh ma`u xu+' so+?
Xa nu+o+'c ro^`i, ca`ng hie^?u nu+o+'c ddau thu+o+ng.

Lu~ chu'ng ta ngu? trong giu+o+`ng chie^'u he.p
Gia^'c mo+ con dde` na't cuo^.c ddo+`i con
Ha.nh phu'c ddu+.ng trong mo^.t ta` a'o dde.p
Mo^.t ma'i nha` ye^n ru? bo'ng xuo^'ng ta^m ho^`n.

Tra(m co+n mo+ kho^ng cho^'ng no^?i mo^.t dde^m da`y
Ta la.i ma(.c cho mu+a tuo^n va` gio' tho^?i
Lo`ng ta tha`nh con ro^'i
Cho cuo^.c ddo+`i gia^.t da^y.
     Che^' Lan Vie^n


Cho to^i no'i vo+'i que^ nhu+ chuye^.n tro` vo+'i me.
DDu+'a con tha hu+o+ng ba chu.c na(m ro^`i
Ngo't nu+?a ddo+`i to^i a(n co+m xu+' Ba('c
Vi. ga.o ddo? que^ nha` va^~n nho+' kho^n nguo^i
     Ng~ Bu`i Vo+.i, "Vo+'i Que^", 1985


Na(m tha'ng dda('ng cay ho+n, na(m tha'ng ngo.t nga`o ho+n
Em mo+'i hie^?u bay gio+` anh co' ly'
Du` chuye^.n xong ro^`i,
Anh dda~ xa ca'ch the^'
Em ha't kha'c xu+a ro^`i, kho'c cu~ng kha'c xu+a ...

Lo+'p tre? lo+'n le^n gio+` la.i ha't theo ta
La.i nha('p la.i vi. ngo.t nga`o thuo+? tru+o+'c
Va^~n so^ng Ne^va chie^`u ta` a'nh nu+o+'c...
Nhu+ng nghi~ cho cu`ng ho. co' lo^~i dda^u anh?
     Olga Berggoltz, 1939-1940


Gio' tho^?i la' sen ho^` la^.t la.i phi'a be^n kia
Phi'a a^'y go.i anh ve^`
Ve^` dda^u chu+a bie^'t nu+~a?
Chi? bie^'t ho^`n anh la^.t la.i cu`ng vo+'i gio'
O+? trong ho^`n ai ddo' ne'm thia lia

Phi'a be^n na`y la' sen la` cuo^.c ddo+`i qua' cu~
Danh vo.ng, gia^'y to+`, ba`n tu? ...
Hoan ho^ va` chu+o+?i ru?a ...
The^' ma` la^.t la' sen ho^`, bo^~ng cho^'c phi'a
be^n kia
Bo^~ng cho^'c la` mu`i hu+o+ng o+? be^n kia la'
La` a'nh tra(ng o+? trong tie^'ng gio'
La` thi` tha^`m a'nh sao khuya
Trong co? ...
Go.i anh ddi
A` que^n, chi'nh la` go.i anh ve^`
Ve^` que^
Ve^` ca'i gi` nhu+ tie^`n tha^n ma` anh dda'nh ma^'t
Ma` la' sen ho^` tu+`ng che khua^'t
Ro^`i la' sen ho^` la^.t la.i
Cho ho^`n anh la('ng nghe
Nghe... Nghe...
Trong khoa?nh kha('c phu't gia^y nghe he^'t
So^'ng che^'t, so^'ng che^'t ...
Hai tu+` a^'y nhu+ thoi reo, lu.c de^.t
Kho^ng co' phi'a be^n na`y
Kho^ng co' phi'a be^n kia
Phi'a be^n na`y la' sen la` cuo^.c ddo+`i ra^'t tuye^.t
Ma` phi'a be^n kia la' sen cu~ng la` cuo^.c ddo+`i
Ho^`n anh ne'm thia lia
     Che^' Lan Vie^n, 1988