Back to top

Xie Recognized as Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborator


CS Associate Professor and Willett Faculty Scholar Tao Xie was honored with a Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborator Award.

Associate Professor Tao Xie

CS101 Lecturer, ZJU-UIUC Institute

The award celebrates Microsoft’s collaborations with academia and highlights some of its most outstanding academic contributors. Microsoft collaborates with over 1,000 scientists, engineers and designers and recognized 32 this year whose achievements have gone beyond those of typical research collaborations. The recipients were nominated by researchers at Microsoft.

Xie has worked with Microsoft Research (MSR) for the past ten years as a visiting researcher in its Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group in Redmond, Washington and in its Software Analytics group in China. At RiSE, he developed a core search algorithm for the automated test generation feature IntelliTest, which became part of the Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise Edition. During his collaborations with researchers from the Software Analytics group, he pioneered and shaped the increasingly popular and important research field of software analytics.

During his time in Redmond and China, Xie’s work led to many additional partnerships. One notable collaboration was the Pex project, in which Xie’s students worked with project creators Nikolai Tillmann and Peli de Halleux of Microsoft to develop novel software testing and analysis techniques for .NET applications. As a result of that collaboration, the game version of Pex, called Code Hunt, has encouraged more than 100,000 students worldwide to practice their coding skills.

As a result of his work with MSR, Xie has had more than 60 joint high-profile publications in areas related to automated test generation, computer science education and software analytics.

“I appreciate Microsoft Research for recognizing our high-impact collaborations with such an honor. I look forward to more impact being made via our continuing collaborations for years to come,” said Xie, who is currently leading his Illinois research group in work on new collaborative projects with MSR. The new projects are developing effective techniques for improving the dependability of build automation software and data analytics software.

Xie is a member of the Information Trust Institute in the Coordinated Science Lab and leads the Automated Software Engineering Research Group at Illinois. In addition, he is a member of the Programming Languages, Formal Methods, and Software Engineering (PL-FM-SE) area at Illinois, an ACM Distinguished Scientist and an IEEE Senior Member. His current research focuses on software testing, program analysis, software analytics, software security and educational software engineering.