Nian Zhang, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; 202.274.6615

Research Interests: Dr. Zhang’s research interests include computational intelligence, machine learning, big data mining, supervised and unsupervised learning, and various application fields including big data science, time series prediction, biomedical engineering, and autonomous robot navigation.


Missouri University of Science & Technology | Computer Engineering | Ph.D.
Huazhong University of Science & Technology | Electrical Engineering | M.S.
Wuhan University of Technology | Electrical Engineering | B.S.


  • N. Zhang (PI), “Deep Supervised and Unsupervised Learning to Explore Feature Selection and Classification in Large Scale Photo-Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectroscopy (PT-IRIS) Big Data,” National Science Foundation. 2016 – 2017.
  • N. Zhang (PI), “An Intelligent Optimization, Clustering and Classification Framework for High Dimensional, Overlapped Classes, and Imbalanced Data,” National Science Foundation. 2015 – 2017. $200K.
  • L. Thompson, N. Zhang (Co-PI), and S. Haghani, “Integration, Cultivation, and Exposure to Biomedical Engineering at the University of the District of Columbia,” National Science Foundation. 2015 – 2018. $400K.

Honors and Awards:

  • General Chair, 2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Conference, University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Washington, D.C., October 2018.
  • Excellence in Research Award, 2016.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 2015.
  • Excellence in Scholarship and Student Mentoring Award, 2014.
  • General Chair, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Winter School, UDC, Washington, D.C., February 19-21, 2016.
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, 2016-present.
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, 2010-2015.
  • Recipient of the Best Paper Award, 2003 IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems (FUZZ-IEEE).
  • ONR Summer Faculty Research Fellow.
  • Myrtilla Miner Faculty Fellow, UDC.

Selected Publications

  1. N. Zhang and L. A. Thompson, “An Intelligent Clustering Algorithm for High Dimensional and Highly Overlapped Photo-Thermal Infrared Imaging Data,” Fall 2016 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, Hempstead, New York, October 21-22, 2016.
  2. N. Zhang and D. Shetty, “An Effective LS-SVM Based Approach for Surface Roughness Prediction in Machined Surfaces,” Neurocomputing, vol. 198, pp. 35–39, July 2016.
  3. L. A. Thompson, A. S. Adebayo, N. Zhang, S. Haghani, K. Dowell, and D. Shetty, “Building a More Diverse Biomedical Engineering Workforce: Biomedical Engineering at the University of the District of Columbia,” 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC’16), Orlando, Florida, August 17-20, 2016.
  4. S. Haghani,D. Albano,W. H. Mahmoud, N. Zhang, and E. T. Ososanya, “Development of a Wearable Sensor Platform Powered by Harvested Energy,” ASEE’s 123rd Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, LA, June 26-29, 2016.
  5. J. F. Ramirez Rochac, N. Zhang, and P. Behera, “Design of Adaptive Feature Extraction Algorithm Based on Fuzzy Classifier in Hyperspectral Imagery Classification for Big Data Analysis,” The 12th World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation (WCICA 2016), Guilin, China, 2016.
  6. N. Zhang, “Cost-Sensitive Spectral Clustering for Photo-Thermal Infrared Imaging Data,” 2016 Sixth International Conference on Information Science and Technology (ICIST), Dalian, China, 2016.
  7. J. F. Ramirez Rochac and N. Zhang, “Reference Clusters Based Feature Extraction Approach for Mixed Spectral Signatures with Dimensionality Disparity,” 10th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference (IEEE SysCon 2016), Orlando, Florida, 2016.
  8. J. F. Ramirez Rochac and Nian Zhang, “Feature Extraction in Hyperspectral Imaging Using Adaptive Feature Selection Approach,” The Eighth International Conference on Advanced Computational Intelligence (ICACI2016), Chiang Mai, Thailand, pp. 36-40, 2016.

Professional Affiliation

  1. Senior Member, IEEE
  2. Member, IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC) Society
  3. Member, IEEE CIS Neural Networks Technical Committee (NNTC)

Upcoming Conferences

  1. Special Session Chair, The 14th International Symposium on Neural Networks (ISNN), Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, June 21-23, 2017.
  2. Publications Chair, Seventh International Conference on Information Science and Technology (ICIST 2017), Da Nang, Vietnam, April 16-19, 2017.