Li Lei, the director of ByteDance’s AI wing, has now confirmed working for California University’s CS department as an assistant professor.

He now joins the list of growing corporate people leaving fancy jobs for academics and research. Lei developed scalable algorithms which formed to be the backbone of TikTok and other similar apps.

Replacing Corporate Job For Academics

People shift jobs for various reasons. Insufficient salary, boss temperaments, or personal reasons like passion or mental health. For unknown reasons, Li Lei, the director of ByteDance’s Artificial Intelligence department, is now leaving this company.

This is to join as an assistant professor in California University Santa Barbara’s Computer Science department, which he confirmed in a tweet. While his LinkedIn profile still lists his position in ByteDance intact, this is likely to change soon.

To the unknown, ByteDance is a Chinese tech company that made one of the world’s popular app – TikTok. The short-video-making social platform is known as Douyin in China and is slightly tweaked.

With this shift in profession from the hardcore corporate job the academics and research, Li Lei joins the list of other tech high-paying professionals like Andrew Ng and Fei-Fei Li, who left for the same.

As per his GitHub, Li Lei made “scalable algorithms that learn and my knowledge from all kinds of data,” which formed a backbone for TikTok and other similar ByteDance apps.

Regarding his education, Lei obtained his bachelor’s degree at China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a doctoral degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011. Then, he did postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley for three years.


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