Luyao Zhang
Assistant Professor of Economics at Duke Kunshan University

Research: Luyao (Sunshine) Zhang is Assistant Professor of Economics and Senior Research Scientist at the Data Science Research Center at Duke Kunshan University (DKU). She has an abiding passion for interdisciplinary collaborations, especially for cutting-edge research of both profound insights and practical impacts, including Computational Economics (Algorithmic Game Theory and Mechanism Design), Explainable Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning, AI Trust, Human-Computer Interaction), Cryptoeconomics (Blockchain for social good, Consensus Algorithms, DeFi), Behavioral Science (Bounded Rationality, Trust, and Cooperation), and Interdisciplinary Big Data (Social Media, Sustainability, and Global Health). Her current research interests are at the interplay of computational science and social science around the application scenarios of Blockchain. Her publications appear in economic journals for general interest and beyond, including American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the World Economy, Nature Scientific Data, Nature Social Indicators Research, ACM CCS, AAAI/ACM AIES, IEEE International Conference on Blockchain Proceedings, Remote Sensing, Journal of Digital Earth, Data and Information Management, etc. She received Ph.D. in Economics at Ohio State University, supported by Presidential Fellowship and NSF dissertation grant. She graduated from Peking University with a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Math and Applied Math. She holds Blockchain Strategy Certificate at Oxford University and more than 30 data science certificates. She is currently supported by National Science Foundation in China for her research agenda entitled “Trust Mechanism Design on Blockchain: An Interdisciplinary Approach of Game Theory, Reinforcement Learning, and Human-Computer Interactions.”


Teaching: She has taught economics courses and beyond for students with diverse backgrounds in the U.S., Europe, and China, proposing an Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy initiative. She has won several teaching prizes for innovation in research-oriented and project-based education. She is passionate about promoting undergraduate research and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The courses entitled “Intelligent Economics: An Explainable AI Approach,” “Computational Microeconomics,” and “Introduction to Machine Learning for Social Science” that she developed in this spirit have been listed in the undergraduate curriculum across disciplines. She is currently leading an “Industry 4.0 Open Education Resource Publication Initiatives” supported by Duke Learning Innovation Center and DKU Center for Teaching and Learning under the Carrying the Innovation Forward program. She led the Duke CS+ project entitled “Decentralized Finance: Cryptocurrency and Blockchain on the Internet Computer” with professors in Computer Science and industry pioneers.  As an adjunct faculty at New York University (NYU) Shanghai, she taught statistics courses in Integrated Marketing at the School of Professional Studies and core courses in Economics such as Econometrics and Game theory in the Summer Program.


Service:  Luyao has dedicated herself to service with empathy, which she believes is one critical cornerstone of any civil society. She has served the academic community and beyond. She serves on the research policy committee, the advisory board of the mind group as representative for the social science division, and the faculty advisor program for student care for both the Social Science Division and the Natural and Applied Science Division at Duke Kunshan University. She is currently the Chair of the University Colloquium Committee. She also is the associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Computational Social System and the ambassador in Shanghai for Startup Genome. She is the Founding President for SciEcon CIC, NPO registered in the UK, aiming to cultivate integrated talents in research, innovation, and leadership for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research of both profound insights and practical impacts. She was the Founding President of Dance Illumination, an NPO with 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status to promote diverse dance histories. She was also selected to the on the inaugural executive committee for the Technical Committee in Computational Economics at the China Computer Federation (CCF TCCE) Led by Prof.Xiaotie Deng to pioneer a research agenda at the intersection of computer and economics science, cultivate integrated talents in computational economics, and make real-word impacts in joint efforts with industry partners and governments.

Current Research Interests

  • Computational Economics (Algorithmic Game Theory and Mechanism Design)
  • Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning, AI Trust, Human-Computer Interaction)
  • Cryptoeconomics (Blockchain for social good, Tokeneconomics, and Consensus Algorithms)
  • Behavioral Science (Bounded Rationality, Trust, and Cooperation)
  • Interdisciplinary Big Data (Social Media, Sustainability, and Global Health)

Current Appointments & Affiliations

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