Zichao (Jack) Wang

PhD Student at Rice University


I'm currently a 2nd year PhD student in Electrical Engineering at Rice University, working with Richard Baraniuk. My research lies at the intersection of machine learning and personalized education, where I develop novel machine learning algorithms to understand learners and instructors' behaviors so that we can deliver personalized educational materials tailored to each individual, and analyze educational contents to partially automate quiz question generation and answering.

During my undergraduate days, I specialized in signal processing, where I worked on a variety of real world signal processing problems involving audio and images, with mentorship of Gary Woods and Richard Baraniuk.

In summer 2015, I visited the Signal Processing Group at University of Oldenburg in Germany, working with Ante Jukic and Simon Doclo on speech dereverberation problem.

Research and Projects


Neural Question Generation (in progress)

An end to end natural language question generation from a sentence or paragraph, based on sequence to sequence recurrent neural networks with reinforcement learning training. (Image credit: Image credit: http://colah.github.io/posts/2015-08-Understanding-LSTMs)


A Latent Factor Model for Instructor Content Preference Analysis

Zichao J. Wang, Andrew S. Lan, Phillip Grimaldi, Richard Baraniuk. Educational Data Mining (EDM) 2017
A latent factor model to explain and predict' instructors homework question selection in terms of questions' Bloom Taxonomy tags.




Constrained multi-channel linear prediction for adaptive speech dereverberation

Ante Jukic, Zichao J. Wang, Toon Van Waterschoot, Timo Gerkmann, Simon Doclo. IEEE International Workshop on Acoustic Signal Enhancement (IWAENC) 2016


code (not official)


EagleEye: Vision-to-Touch Sensory Substitution with the Versatile Extra Sensory Transducer (VEST)

Zichao J. Wang, Zongjun Zheng, Mauro Zabala, Rachel Grey. Undergraduate capstone project
Invented a system to map visual signals to vibrations patterns on a vest with vibration units for blind individuals.
2nd Place, 2016 American Society for Artificial Internfal Organs (ASAIO) Annual Conference Student Design Competition
Best ECE Senior Design Award, 2016 ECE Affiliates Day Competition

Sponsored by NeoSensory and OEDK.

Project Website



Selective Transparent Headphones

Zichao J. Wang*, Stephen Xia*, Tianyi Yao*, Shengjia Zhao*. Undergraduate independent research project
A simulated headphone that filters out all other noise except for speech. (*=equal contribution)
1st place, IEEE Region 5 Conference Student Paper Competition



Rice University, TX, USA

Rice University

Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, 2016 - Present
B.S. Electrical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude), 2012 - 2016

University of Leipzig, Germany

uni leipzig

German language studies at Goethe-Institute, May - August 2013
Completed German B1 and B2 level courses
With full scholarship

No.1 Middle School Affiliated to CCNU, Wuhan, China


High School Diploma, Jun 2012
Model United Nations Club
President of Student Science Academy

Honors and Awards

1st place, Electrical Engineering Senior Design Award, 2016
2nd place, ASAIO Student Design Competition, 2016
Senior Merit Award in Engineering, 2016
1st Place, IEEE Region 5 Conference Student Paper Competition, 2015
1st Place, Rice Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition, 2015
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) RISE Scholarship, 2015
Louis J. Walsh Scholarship in Engineering, 2015
World Ranking 35/1853 (top 2%) in IEEEXtreme 24-Hour Coding Competition, 2015
Membership of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa


TA, ELEC 425/554 Computer Architecture, Rice University, Fall 2017
Co-Instructor, COLL 199 Intro to Computer Music, Rice University, Spring 2016 [syllabus]
TA, ELEC 301 Signal and Systems on EdX, Rice University, Spring 2015
TA, ELEC 241 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering I on Coursera, Rice University, Spring 2014

Beyond Research


Ignite Scholar, Ignite Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Trek

Joined a group of MBA and engineering students on a tour to silicon Valley, visiting startups and talking to entrepreneurs.[cool pic1] [cool pic1] [cool pic1]


Violinist, Campanile Orchestra

Campanile Orchestra composes entirely of non-music major students. I was a violinist in the string section for one academic year, and performed 4 concerts. [cool pic]


Volunteer, Mission:Wolf

Travelled to Mission:Wolf, a wolf sanctuary near Westcliffe in Colorado. Built the entire lighting system for the visitor centor, in addition to feeding wolves and other chores daily.[cool pic1] [cool pic1] [cool pic1]


Volunteer, YMCA Camp Campbell, CA

Served as cabin leader for a group of elementary school kids for a week. [cool pic]

More About Me

I come from Wuhan (), China, a city with almost the same weather and latitude as that of Houston (we've got winter, though!).

I can speak English, Chinese and a bit German. I was in Germany for two out of my only three summers when I was undergrad, primarily because of my interest in the language and research program. Of course, I made well use of my time in Europe to explore many cities and countries.

In my spare time, I play the violin, basketball (go Rockets!), write tech reviews for Synced Reviews occasionally, and ultilize my engineering skills to do some minor home improvements (e.g. turning an old printer into a wireless one).