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Yan Leng 冷妍

Assistant professor in McCombs School of Business, the University of Texas at Austin. I am a courtesy faculty in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. I am a core member in UT Machine Learning Lab and affliate with the UT AI and Misinformation Initiative. I also affiliate with MIT Media Lab.

I am a computational social scientist and network scientist using large-scale data sets, network theory, and machine learning to understand behaviors over networks.

I obtained my Ph.D. from MIT Media Lab in May, 2020, advised by Professor Alex Pentland. I hold dual Master's degrees in Computer Science and Transportation Engineering from MIT. My research is funded by NSF, NIH, Marketing Science Institute, UT Good Systems, and UT McCombs Research Excellence Grant.

Email: yan.leng@mccombs.utexas.edu



  • My paper with Junyu Cao on Adaptive Data Acquisition for Personalized Recommender Systems with Optimality Guarantees on Short-form Video Platform is accepted to Management Science in May 2024.
  • My paper on Can LLMs Mimic Human-Like Mental Accounting and Behavioral Biases? is accepted to ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (EC'24) in May 2024.
  • My paper with Xue Yu, Muchen Li, and Renjie Liao on Learning Latent Structures in Network Games via Data-Dependent Gated-Prior Graph Variational Autoencoders is accepted to International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) in April 2024.
  • My paper with Drew Dimmery on Calibrating Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in Randomized Experiments is accepted to Information Systems Research in Oct 2023.
  • My paper with Tara Sowrirajan and Alex Pentland on Stochastic Block Influence Model: Measuring Social Influence Among Homophilous Communities was accepted to IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering in July 2023.
  • My paper with Xiaowen Dong, Esteban Moro, and Alex Pentland on Long Range Social Influence in Phone Communication Networks on Offline Adoption Decisions was accepted to Information Systems Research in March 2023.
  • I presented "Learning Network Structures from Behavioral Data" at the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. More information: here.
Awards and Grants
  • I am honored to have received the 2023-2024 Trammell/CBA Foundation Teaching Award for Assistant Professors.
  • I am honored to have won the McCombs Faculty Honor Roll.
  • Joint with Ying Ding, Yifan Peng, and Craig Watkins, we won the $1M project from NIH AIM-AHEAD program to tackle the issues of black youth mental health in Oct 2023.
  • I received the Research & Creative Grants at UT Austin in Nov 2023.
  • I received the Fall 2023 McCombs BBA Faculty Honor Roll (Teaching Award).
  • I received the research excellence grant from McCombs in Oct 2023.
  • Joint with Vinicius Brei, we received Texas Global Faculty Research Seed Grants in May 2023.
  • I am thrilled to share that I received the NSF CRII Award from the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) department in Feb 2022.
  • Joint with Junyu Cao, we won INFORMS ISS Cluster best paper award on a paper about information acquisition on crowdsourcing platforms in Oct 2022.
  • Joint with Mohsen Bahrami and Vinicius Brei, we received the grant award from Marketing Science Institute in Dec 2021.
  • Joint with Junyu Cao, we won the second-prize in the data-driven research in Revenue Management and Pricing on adaptive data acquisition for short-form video platforms in Oct 2021.
  • I received the Spring 2021 McCombs BBA Faculty Honor Roll (Teaching Award).