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Yi-Min Wang

Yi-Min on The New York Times: “Researchers Track Down a Plague of Fake Web Pages,” by John Markoff, March 19, 2007.

Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director

Microsoft Research Technologies (MSR-T)

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052, USA

ymwang <at> microsoft <dot> com

Last updated: March 11, 2016


I was named a Distinguished Scientist of Microsoft in March 2015 for being "recognized internationally for his contributions to dependable computing and web security" and for "establishing a company-wide reputation for both effective and creative management".

I became the Managing Director of the newly created MSR Technologies (MSR-T) organization in January 2014. At MSR-T, we focus on turning world-class research into world-changing innovation. Our investment areas include Input Technologies (e.g., world-record texting), Deep Learning (both algorithms and scale), Natural Language Processing (e.g., Skype Translator and Cortana), Wearables (e.g., HoloLens and Microsoft Band), and Distributed Systems.

I became a Deputy Managing Director for Microsoft Research-Redmond (MSR-R) in August 2011. Together with Peter Lee and Eric Horvitz, we formed the Office of Directors (OOD) which supports all 300+ researchers and engineers in the Lab towards the goals of Agility, Diversity, and Strategy. In November 2012, Eric and I became the Managing Co-Director of the lab when Peter expanded his responsibility to manage all MSR US Labs.

Between 2012 and 2014, I managed the MSR Gaia Skunkworks Program, which produced the following three world-record successes: (1) the FDS team broke two MinuteSort records - see article and record page; (2) the Blackbird team broke the Guinness World Record on fastest texting and set a new record on blind texting - see article; (3) the Adam team set a record on ImageNet 22K object recognition top-1 accuracy - see article and OSDI paper.

I was previously Director of ISRC (Internet Services Research Center), an R&D organization dedicated to developing technologies for Search, Ads, and Online Services. Between 2007 and 2011, ISRC focused on web-scale data-related technologies including Search Quality Diagnosis and Metrics, Web-Scale Language Model, Highly Interactive Dialog Model, Structured Data (e.g., Wolfram|Alpha answers), and Scalable Dynamic Crawling. Personally, I played the role of Director of Search Quality for the Bing team. I invented the Automated Relevance Diagnosis System (ARDS) which took hundreds of thousands of user dissatisfaction reports and performed automated and systematic diagnosis to identify the Search component that is responsible for causing each of the dissatisfactions. ARDS has been a critical part of Bing team’s search quality process and is widely recognized for its contribution to Bing’s significant quality improvement from 2008 to 2011.

Prior to the creation of ISRC, my research work was primarily in the areas of dependable computing and web security. I was elected to IEEE Fellow for my contributions in those two areas. I had published extensively on checkpointing and rollback-recovery and was a main co-author of the most influential survey paper on that topic. In 2005, I invented Strider HoneyMonkey - the first automated system to patrol the Web and hunt for malicious websites that exploit zero-day vulnerabilities. The HoneyMonkey technique has become the de facto standard for both the security industry and the search engine industry. In 2007, I invented Strider Search Ranger – the first search-spam detection system based on dynamic crawling and traffic analysis. The work was featured on New York Times and has had an industry-wide impact on wiping out search-spam.

Read my full biography.


Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Corporation, March 2015

Managing Director, Microsoft Research Technologies (MSR-T), January 2014

Managing Co-Director, Microsoft Research-Redmond (MSR-R), November 2012

Deputy Managing Director, Microsoft Research-Redmond (MSR-R), August 2011

IEEE Fellow, Class of 2010 - for contributions to Dependable Computing and Web Security

Director, Internet Services Research Center (ISRC), Microsoft Research-Redmond, July 2009

Director, Search Quality & Cyber-Intelligence Lab (SQ-CIL), Internet Services Research Center (ISRC), July 2007

Group Manager, Cybersecurity & Systems Management (CSM) Research Group, 2005

Group Manager, Systems Management (SM) Research Group, 2004

Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993

B.S., Electrical Engineering, National Taiwan University, 1986

Recent Professional Activities


  • UIUC ECE Distinguished Alumni Award, 2014 - recognized for “contributions to dependable computing and web security, and leadership in industrial reseach"

Associate Editor

Keynote Speakers

  • "Academia to Industry: Scale up the Ambition, Scale out for Impact," UIUC ECE Launch Beyond Event Keynote, November 6, 2015
  • Security Challenges in An Increasingly Connected World, (Slides in PDF) IEEE International Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems (SRDS), September 28, 2009
  • “Adversarial Web Crawling with Strider Monkeys,” (Slides in PDF) Internet Services Workshop, November 6, 2008
  • Online Advertising: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, (Slides in PDF) International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems (SSS), November 17, 2006

Other Invited Talks

  • "Having Fun, Taking Risks, and Changing the World at Microsoft Bldg. 99", McGill University, September 28, 2012
  • "Having Fun, Taking Risks, and Changing the World at Microsoft Bldg. 99" [video], University of Washington, May 29, 2012

Program Committee Member

Sponsored Research Award

Recent Research Projects & Papers

  • The Strider Family of Projects and Their Internal and External Contributions
  • Chao Liu, Hung-chih Yang, Jinliang Fan, Li-Wei He, and Yi-Min Wang, “Distributed Non-negative Matrix Factorization for Web-Scale Dyadic Data Analysis on MapReduce,” International World Wide Web (WWW) Conference, April 2010
  • Zhichun Li, Ming Zhang, Zhaosheng Zhu, Yan Chen, Albert Greenberg, and Yi-Min Wang, “WebProphet: Automating Performance Prediction for Web Services,” in Proc. USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI '10), April 2010.
  • Fan Guo, Chao Liu, Anitha Kannan, Tom Minka, Michael Taylor, Yi-Min Wang, Christos Faloutsos, “Click Chain Model in Web Search,” [PDF] in Proc. International World Wide Web (WWW) Conference, 2009
  • Shuo Chen, Ziqing Mao, Yi-Min Wang, Ming Zhang, “Pretty-Bad-Proxy: An Overlooked Adversary in Browsers’ HTTPS Deployments,” [PDF] in Proc. IEEE Symp. on Security and Privacy (the Oakland Conference), May 2009
  • Shuo Chen, Jose Meseguer, Ralf Sasse, Helen Wang, and Yi-Min Wang “A Systematic Approach to Uncover GUI Logic Flaws for Web Security,” [PDF] in Proc. IEEE Symp. on Security and Privacy (the Oakland Conference), May 2007
  • Samuel T. King, Peter M. Chen, Yi-Min Wang, Chad Verbowski, Helen J. Wang, Jacob R. Lorch, “SubVirt: Implementing malware with virtual machines,” [PDF] in Proc. IEEE Symp. on Security and Privacy (the Oakland Conference), May 2006.

Previous Professional Activities

Program Chair

  • Program Co-Chair, International Conference on Autonomic Computing (ICAC), 2005
  • Program Vice-Chair, Fault Tolerant and Dependable Computing Track, International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), 2005
  • Program Co-Chair, The 6th Usenix Conference on Object-Oriented Technologies and Systems (COOTS), 2001

Program Committee Member

  • International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN), 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2002, 2001, 2000
  • International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), 2007, 2006, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1995
  • Usenix Security Symposium, 2007
  • Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems (SRDS), 2005
  • International Conference on Autonomic Computing (ICAC), 2004
  • ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC), 2002

Fun Stuff

  • Red crabs crossing road on Christmas Island [video]
  • Dolphins Stampede [video]