A PhD candidate in Information Science department, Cornell University.

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Information Science at Cornell University. My major is Human-Computer-Interaction, and minor is Communication.

I work with Prof. Dan Cosley and Prof. Susan R. Fussell in Information Science Department, and also Prof. Natalie Bazarova in Communication Department.

Having been trained as a system developer and UX designer prior to coming to Cornell, now I see myself as who combines design, system and theory together to seek advances to improve people’s connection and communication.

Here is my CV.


Cornell University
Major: Information Science
Minor: Communication

My research focus is mainly around Human-Computer-Interaction, Computer-Supported-Collaborative-Work and Social Media.

  • Conducted research (in-depth interview 28 users, field trial 85 users) exploring designs to encourage playfulness in daily ephemeral conversations though an ephemeral messaging app BubbleQ created by me (findings of this part accepted in DIS’17). Continuing on exploring network and audience effects on user communicative goals in ephemeral social media through next versions of BubbleQ
  • Led research (in-depth interview, 25 users) on Snapchat to understand user practices in ephemeral media comparing to persistent media like Facebook, and the role its ephemeral design plays in influencing user sharing behaviors, communication goals and privacy management (CSCW’16). [Manuscript]
  • Conducted research (prototyping, survey, lab experiment, in-depth interview 35 users) exploring how to support people to meet new interesting others in social gatherings; designed and built a mobile introduction virtual agent based on findings (deployed in CSCW’15 and CHI’15)
  • Conducted a qualitative study (in-depth interview, prototyping ) and collaborated a quantitative study (survey, lab experiment, content analysis) exploring designs for machine translation mediated collaboration (CHI ’14, CSCW’15)
Publication Projects

Tsinghua University
Major: Information Science and Technology
Degree: Master of Science

As a master student, I was trained as a developer and designer concentrates on social mobile systems. I designed and developed social systems for Tsinghua University, academic conferences and Nokia China. I also led a student group in a joint project of Tsinghua University and Nokia Research Center.

Publication Projects

Dalian University of Technology
Major: Electronic Engineering
Degree: Bachelor of Engineering

My undergraduate major concentration is information and signal processing. I worked with Pro. Gang Xu on facial recognition, which won University's undergraduate honorable thesis of year 2008.


IBM Watson Research - Yorktown Height, NY
May 2016-August 2016
Group: Cognitive Computing Group
Position: Research Intern

I worked as a research intern at IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Group. My research here focuses on designing cognitive tools that supports remote collaboration.

  • Designed and developed a web-app conference system that implemented simulated ephemeral gazes to improve social awareness and attention management in video meetings
  • Conducted research (participatory design, in-depth interview) on the system to understand the use of ephemeral gazes in collaborations, and explored design implications for the applications (accepted and will appear in DIS’17)

Publication Projects

IBM Research Almaden
May 2015-August 2015
Group: USER Group
Position: Research Intern

I worked as PhD research intern at IBM Watson USER group. My research here focuses on designing tools for personality presentation on social media.

  • Developed a system that used semantic analysis machine learning methods to compute personality traits based on users’ social media (Facebook) content data
  • Conducted a qualitative study (in-depth interview, prototyping) using the system to understand user perception and reaction to their data-based personality (ICWSM’16)

Publication Projects

Nokia Research Center
August 2010-May 2012
Group: Mobile Social Experience
Position: UX Research Intern

I worked for almost two years as UX research intern in the team of Mobile Social Experience team, where we seek innovations on mobile social technologies and researchers. It was a great experience to work closely with researchers, developers and designers together on various projects for such a long time. During that time, my work was mainly focused on data analysis and system design and development, and here are some works I did:

  • Developed clients on Android and iOS platforms integrated with an indoor positioning server for Android phone and iPhone users.
  • Built a visualization system showing indoor location based network graphs.
  • Designed and implemented a friend recommendation algorithm in a proximity-based mobile social network.
  • Analyzing user behavior to explore how to integrate people’s online and offline social life.
  • Conducted user studies on the relation between users’ physical proximity and the connecting properties of their social links.

Publication Projects

ShenZhen Research Institute of Tsinghua University
January 2010–July 2010
Lab: Signal Processing
Position: Research Assistant

For about a semester, I worked in the Visual Information Processing Lab led by Pro. Liao Qingmin on Image processing systems. My work is mainly on researches on Pattern Recognition. I was involved in the algorithm development in a Vehicle Platte Recognition project.

Nokia China
August 2009-December 2009
Team: Mobile Social Networking
Position: Software Engineering Intern

As a Software Engineering Intern, I worked in Mobile Social System team led by Dr. Hao Wang. By working with experience Backend and Front-end developers, I was trained as a mobile system developer. Back to 2009, before Android OS and iOS dominating mobile OS, with the vision of Nokia as a leader in mobile business, we were the early explorers of mobile technologies in social contexts. I worked with other developers and built a conference and office meeting system using Wi-Fi-based indoor positioning technology to support meeting people offline and social networking online.


Ephemeral Sociality

In my dissertation I am developing this concept called "Ephemeral Sociality" based on a fact that even though we form persistent relationships with others, the social interactions between are still transient and ephemeral. In another word, the network consists of fleeting and transient, yet iterative social relations; of ephemeral but intense interaction. Being ephemeral means the achieve-like posting and sharing behaviors in most social system would raise questions when people would like to share not persistent interactions. For example, we see Snapchat as a system that regulates a norm of ephemerality that other system does not. The goal of developing this topic is to probe the temporal domain of social interactions and self-disclosure in social systems and let the designers rethink the persistency and ephemerality of digital systems. More reading of my work on digital ephermality can be found here at my Medium

Learning through Alternatives: Designing Communicative Systems that Make Latent Values Salientk

This is almost the epistemological viewpoint I has taken in my work: Most computer-mediated communicative systems are built with default designs, for example, conversations are expected to be saved automatically and persistently, and to be composed of explicit contents. These conventions have put the focus on supporting informational purposes (e.g. information exchange, collaboration efficiency, team coordination, etc.) as both the primary goal and process of communication, while tend to neglect the multiplicity of values and meanings people achieve. Taking an interactional perspective on the modern theories of interpersonal communication, I aim to explore design moves that violate these assumptions and break these conventions, to highlight what is missing and to stimulate designers’ thinking about alternatives, in hope to support other latent values beyond information purposes.

Object-centric sociality

Social networks between people are not simply social graphs where nodes are connected by links, there are sharing objects between people, like parties, events, places in physical world, or pages, photos, groups in online world. Social objects are either binding, or bridging people together. In a word, it is through social objects that people connect to each other, not only the links between them. Inspired by Jyri Engeström’s article on “Object-centered sociality”, I want to look at different social objects: what are the existing social objects in a social system that mediate the interaction inside the system and in physical life, how the objects work, how to improve their sociality by design, and what new beneficial objects could be. An example of this topic is the "Event-based Social Network" project where we found smaller events as a shared object between event participants, would promote more social connections rather than large events. I would like to investigate more social objects like photos on Pinterest, sharing on Facebook, etc. The goal of investigating social objects is not only to understand the sociality, but re-think the graph-like anatomy of current social network, to approach new model to capture the interactive aspects in social networking life.


J2. Alvin Chin, Bin Xu, Hao Wang, Lele Chang. Connecting People Through Physical Proximity and Physical Resources at a Conference. ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology 4, 3, Article 50 (July 2013).
J1. Bin Xu, Alvin Chin, Wei Wang, Xia Wang, Zhen Liu. Ephemeral Social Networking: From Online Social Networking to Mobile Social Networking. Communications of the CCF(CHINA COMPUTER FEDERATION), VOL.8, NO.5, May 2012, page 8-14.


16. Bin Xu, Yang Qin, Dan Cosley. De-emphasizing content to study the relationship between meaning, messages, and content in IM systems. Accepted in the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS’17)
15. Bin Xu, Jason Ellis, Thomas Erickson. Attention from Afar: Simulating the Gazes of Remote Participants in Hybrid Meetings. Accepted in the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS’17)
14. Yang Qin, Bin Xu, Dan Cosley. 2017. Designing the Interplay between Anonymity and Publicity for Online Social Support. In Companion of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW '17 Companion). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 283-286.
13. Bin Xu, Liang Gou, Anbang Xu, Dan Cosley, Jalal Mahmud. InsightMe: Raising Awareness of Conveyed Personality in Social Media Traces. Accepted in ICWSM2016
12. Yuan Jia, Bin Xu, Yamini Karanam, Stephen Voida. Personality-targeted Gamification: A Survey Study on Personality Traits and Motivational Affordances. Accpeted in ACM CHI2016.
11. Bin Xu, Pamara Change, Christopher L Welker, Natalya N. Bazarova, Dan Cosley. Automatic Archiving versus Default Deletion: What Snapchat Tells Us About Ephemerality in Design. Acccepted in ACM CSCW2016.[Manuscript]
10. Ge Gao, Bin Xu, David C. Hau, Zheng Yao, Dan Cosley, and Susan R. Fussell. 2015. Two is Better Than One: Improving Multilingual Collaboration by Giving Two Machine Translation Outputs. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 852-863.Best Paper Honorable Mention
9. Bin Xu, Ge Gao, Susan R. Fussell, Dan Cosley. Improving Machine Translation by Showing Two Outputs. In Proc. ACM CHI2014. pp. 3743-3746, ACM. 2014.
8. Ge Gao, Bin Xu, Dan Cosley, Susan R. Fussell. How Beliefs about the Presence of Machine Translation Impact Multilingual Collaborations. In Proc. ACM CSCW pp. 1549-1560, ACM, 2014.
7. Bin Xu, Alvin Chin and Dan Cosley. On how event size and interactivity affect social networks. In CHI'13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 865-870. ACM, 2013.
6. Alvin Chin, Bin Xu, and Hao Wang. Who should I add as a friend?: a study of friend recommendations using proximity and homophily. In Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Modeling Social Media, p. 7. ACM, 2013.
5. Alvin Chin, Bin Xu, Hao Wang, Xia Wang. Linking People Through Physical Proximity in a Conference. In Proc. of the 3rd International Workshop on Modeling Social Media (MSM 2012) 13‐20, in associated with 23rd ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia.
4.Bin Xu, Alvin Chin, Hao Wang, Lele Chang, Ke Zhang, Fangxi Yin, Hao Wang, Li Zhang. Physical Proximity and Online User Behavior in an Indoor Mobile Social Networking Application. In Proc. of the 4th IEEE International Conference on Cyber, Physical and Social Computing (CPSCom 2011), 273-282 Best Paper Award.
3. Bin Xu, Alvin Chin, Hao Wang, Hao Wang and Li Zhang. Social Linking and Physical Proximity in a Mobile Location-based Service. 1st International Workshop on Mobile Location based Services (MLBS 2011), ACM Ubicomp 2011, 99-108
2. Bin Xu, Alvin Chin, Hao Wang and Hao Wang. Using Physical Context in a Mobile Social Networking Application for Improving Friend Recommendations. 1st International Workshop on Sensing, Networking and Computing with Smartphones (PhoneCom2011), IEEE CPSCom 2011 Conference, 602-609
1. Alvin Chin, Hao Wang, Lijun Zhu, Bin Xu, and Hao Wang. Connecting People through Physical Resources in an Office Environment. In Proc. of ACM Ubicomp 2011, 475-76



BubbleQ is an ephemeral messaging application both designed and developed by me for the Digital Ephemerality project. It has similar ephemerality design like Snapchat does, but it aims at encouraging playfulness in messaging with a de-emphasis on contents. More info please got to or search in Apple App Store.

And I have a medium article on how I designed and built it: The building of BubbleQ

System Development:
Backend: NodeJs
iOS Client: Swift 2.3
Website: HTML5
Related Theory:
Everyday Talk
Digital Ephemerality

SoBot for CSCW2015 and CHI2015
SoBot for CSCW2015 and CHI2015 is a social app that help participants in ACM CSCW2015 and ACM CHI2015 to meet new people. This version of SoBot has Android version, iOS version and a web Version. This version also first time introduce the "tag" as social objects to let people socialize around, which is the biggest differences to other social systems. To download the app, please goto

System Development:
Backend: NodeJs
iOS Client: Cocoa/Objective-c
Android Client: Java
Webapp: HTML5, AngularJs
Related Theory:
Object-oriented socality
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Warranting Theory

Two-Trans is a system designed to improve real-time communication between people who do not share a common language by foregrounding potential problems in machine translation. Two-Trans displays two parallel translations of each chat turn, providing alternatives for error correction and conversation grounding between users.Eventually, I build a online system for people to chat with other languages (right now English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and more to come). Here is the BETA version of it, which looks like a Slack but with translation mediated: BXMessenger

System Development:
Backend: Java
Webapp: Flash, HTML5, Javacript
Related Theory:
Communication Grounding
Steam of Technology

Meetoo is an app I am building. I started this idea because sometime I found I would like to go some place for fun and could not find someone to hangout. This app will let me put the events/things I plan to do and will do, and let others (mostly my friends) to check out my plans, so they might want to join me. I am currently writing the codes, if you are also interested in, ping me!
System Development:
Backend: Rails
iOS Client: Objective-c
Website: AngularJS
Related Theory:
Social Influece Theory

HiBit is a mobile app that helps you to log your activities and reach your habitual goals. This work is under development. I will launch the app this Fall, friends who might have some habitual building needs (like me :D), stay tuned!
System Development:
Backend: NodeJs
iOS/Android Client: Ionic Framework
Related Theory:
Goal Setting Theory
Social Comparison Theory

SoBot for Cornell
SoBot for Cornell is a communication facilitating system working in iOS, which obtains and utilize people's social media data to help users conduct conversations with other users in offline social activities.
System Development:
Backend: NodeJs
iOS Client: Cocoa/Objective-c
Webapp: HTML5, Javacript
Related Theory:
Social Accommedation Theory
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Warranting Theory

VisChat is a system designed to visual and share status between users in collaborative communication. This is an ongoing project and I am currently doing pilots to get more insights in design.
System Development:
Backend: NodeJs
Webapp: HTML5, Javascript, D3
Related Theory:
Communication Grounding
Folk Conceptual Theory

NetworkFringe is designed as an alternative interface to Facebook Newsfeed. Currently, Facebook Newsfeed algorithm is designed to show more news from strong ties in a user's network, however, according to social capital theory, week ties also have values to provide social capitals. We call these weak ties who normally are absent from your newsfeed pages as "Network Fringe" and this is an interface which strength their existence and facilitate your connections and communication with them.
System Development:
Under Development
Related Theory:
Social Capital Theory
Strong Tie; Week Tie
[Some old projects that I still heart]

Find&Connect for Tsinghua
This is a work collaborative with Nokia Research Center for Tsinghua 100 Anniversary. People can use their mobile phones to login this mobile app, and see where their alumni were in Tsinghua Campus and connect to old and new friends.
System Development:
Android: Java
Campus positioning model using cellular signal
Related Theory:
Social Influence Theory
Homophily Theory

Mobile Virtual Reality
This is a mobile virtual reality game based on a joint work collaborated with China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University and Nokia Research Center. People can use their location in real life as a game element for a virtual game.
System Development:
Adobe Flash/Actionscript
Indoor positioning model using Wi-Fi

Ubicomp 2011 Find&Connect
This system was deployed in ACM Ubiquitous Computing Conference 2011. Conference attendees can use this system to find people's location in the conference. Based on who they encountered during the conference and other commonality they share , the system also provides contact recommendations.
System Development:
Recommendation System: Python, Java
Related Theory:
Social Influence Theory
Homophily Theory

This system is a visualization system that visualize people's social network and their connections's location in physical settings. This system was deployed in Nokia and Tsinghua University.
System Development:
Backend: J2EE
Front-end: ActionScript/Adobe Flash

Nokia Find&Connect
This system was deployed in Nokia China. As a mobile social system, All Nokia employees in Nokia Chia can use it to find office resource, find colleagues and connect to new contacts.
System Development:
Indoor positioning model
Backend: J2EE