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Shaowen Wang

Professor and Associate Dean for Life and Physical Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Shaowen Wang is Professor of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science; and Affiliate Professor of the Department of Computer Science, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He currently serves as Associate Dean for Life and Physical Sciences of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is a Senior Faculty Fellow with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at UIUC. He has served as Founding Director of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies at UIUC since 2013. He previously served as Head of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science from 2017 to 2023 and as Associate Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications for CyberGIS from 2010 to 2017.

His research and teaching interests broadly include geographic information science and systems (GIS), artificial intelligence and cyberGIS, complex social and environmental problems, computational and data sciences, geospatial science and technology, high-performance and distributed computing, and spatial analysis and modeling. His research focuses on advancing cyberGIS and geospatial data science for scalable solutions to complex geospatial problems and sustainability challenges. He has received research funding from several U.S. federal and state agencies (e.g., CDC, DOE, Illinois EPA, NASA, NIH, NOAA, NSF, USDA, and USGS) and industry, and served as principal or co-principal investigator for over $56 million research grants. He currently serves as the principal investigator and director of the NSF Institute for Geospatial Understanding through an Integrative Discovery Environment (I-GUIDE). He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers & reports and edited or co-edited several books and proceedings. He has served as an action editor of GeoInformatica, associate editor of SoftwareX, and guest editor or editorial board member for multiple other journals, book series, and proceedings. 

His research, teaching, and services have been recognized by many awards. He received the NSF CAREER Award in 2009. He was named a Helen Corley Petit Scholar for 2011-2012, Centennial Scholar for 2013-2016, and Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar for 2018-2021 by UIUC’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Association of Geographers (AAG), and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). He received the 2022 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors. He served as President of UCGIS from 2016 to 2017, and as a member of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine from 2015 to 2020. He has supervised more than 20 graduate students and more than 20 postdoctoral fellows, and many of his advisees are holding positions at major research universities, premier research and development laboratories, and leading geospatial companies. 


  • PhD, Geography, the University of Iowa
  • Master of Computer Science, the University of Iowa
  • MS, Geography, Peking University
  • BS, Computer Engineering, Tianjin University

Courses Taught

  • Coursera: Getting Started with CyberGIS
  • GGIS 595 - Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies
  • GGIS 480 - Principles of GIS
  • GGIS 479 - Advanced GIS
  • GGIS 407 - Foundations of CyberGIS and Geospatial Data Science
  • GGIS 379 - Introduction to GIS

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Professor, Geography and Geographic Information Science
Professor, Computer Science
Professor, School of Information Sciences
Senior Faculty Fellow, New Frontiers Initiative, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
Affiliate, Center for Social and Behavioral Science

Recent Publications

Hu, W., Jin, B., Jiang, M., Zhou, S., Wang, Z., Han, J., & Wang, S. (2024). Geospatial Topological Relation Extraction from Text with Knowledge Augmentation. In S. Shekhar, V. Papalexakis, J. Gao, Z. Jiang, & M. Riondato (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2024 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining, SDM 2024 (pp. 472-480). (Proceedings of the 2024 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining, SDM 2024). Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Publications.

Liang, H., Wang, S., Li, H., Zhou, L., Zhang, X., & Wang, S. (2024). BiGNN: Bipartite graph neural network with attention mechanism for solving multiple traveling salesman problems in urban logistics. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 129, Article 103863.

Lyu, F., Zhou, L., Park, J., Baig, F., & Wang, S. (2024). Mapping dynamic human sentiments of heat exposure with location-based social media data. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. Advance online publication.

Michels, A. C., Padmanabhan, A., Xiao, Z., Kotak, M., Baig, F., & Wang, S. (2024). CyberGIS-Compute: Middleware for democratizing scalable geocomputation. SoftwareX, 26, Article 101691.

Michels, A., Padmanabhan, A., Li, Z., & Wang, S. (2024). EasyScienceGateway: A new framework for providing reproducible user environments on science gateways. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, 36(4), Article e7929.

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