Zehong (Jimmy) CAO

Enterprise Fellow | ARC DECRA Fellow | Senior Lecturer

STEM, University of South Australia

Email: Jimmy.Cao@unisa.edu.au
Office: W2-10, Mawson Lakes Campus


   Introduction | Recent News | Research Areas | Recruitment | Publications | Services | Teaching | Awards | Grants


  • I am an research-intensive academic in STEM (Infomation Technology), as an Enterprise Fellow, ARC DECRA Fellow, and Senior Lecturer. UniSA is a top young university globally recognised as strong research impact and industry engagement, located at Adelaide - to be a New Adelaide University from 2026. I am leading Human-Agent Interaction and Learning (HAIL) research area, and my research innovations build the bridge between human cognition and AI agents and their applications to support decision-making, including brain-computer interface, deep reinforcement learning, human-in-the-loop reasoning, multi-agent systems, and relevant applications (e.g., clinical/healthcare, ground transportation and space).
  • I received the prestigious ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowship 2022 and currently hold an inaugural UniSA Enterprise Fellowship 2021, which provide research-intensive career development. Before joining UniSA, I worked at the University of Technology Sydney and University of Tasmania, and completed my PhD in Australian AI Institute.

Recent News

  I accept PhD applicants for 2025 enrollment. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information.
  • [05/2024] A graph learning for EEG emotion brain network was accepted by IEEE TNNLS.
  • [04/2024] A scalable efficient multi-agent reinforcement learning was accepted by IEEE TNNLS.
  • [03/2024] A reinforcement learning method for traffic oscillations was accepted by IEEE TITS.
  • [01/2024] A multisource information fusion method was accepted by IEEE TFS.
  • [12/2023] A human heuristic knowledge for reinforcement learning was accepted by AAMAS2024.
  • [12/2023] A belief rényi divergence method for pattern classification was accepted by IEEE TKDE.
  • [09/2023] I was invited to join Neural Networks as an Action Editor from 2024.
  • [08/2023] A fractal belief divergence method for effective pattern classification was accepted by IEEE TPAMI.
  • [08/2023] I was selected as one of (short-term) JSPS Invitational Fellows 2023!
  • [07/2023] A large-size spacecraft autonomy proposal about dynamic resource allocation was supported by SmartSat CRC!
  • [07/2023] An EEG Granger causal inference method for motor imagery was accepted by IEEE TNNLS.
  • More
  • [05/2023] A belief f-divergence for EEG complexity method was accepted by Information Sciences.
  • [03/2023] An EEG graph topologies method for emotion recognition was accepted by IEEE TNNLS.
  • [11/2022] An international space research proposal about distributed satellite systems was supported by UA-DAAD!
  • [09/2022] I was selected as one of DAAD AInet Fellows 2022!
  • [09/2022] A complex multisource information fusion method was accepted by IEEE TKDE.
  • [06/2022] I was selected as one of Baidu AI Chinese Young Scholars (AI+X category) 2022!
  • [03/2022] I was invited to be a workshop chair of PRICAI 2022. Call for workshop proposals!
  • [02/2022] I will host IEEE ICA 2022 at Adelaide. Welcome submissions!
  • [01/2022] I was selected as ACM’s Distinguished Speaker for 3 years.
  • [12/2021] I was invited to join IEEE T-NNLS as an Associate Editor from 2022.
  • [12/2021] I was invited to join IEEE TFS as an Associate Editor from 2022.
  • [10/2021] A fuzzy control system study for multi-agent coordination was accepted by IEEE TFS.
  • [09/2021] I was invited as the Program Chair of IEEE ICA 2021.
  • [09/2021] An EEG-based analysis study for freezing of gait in PD patients was accepted by IEEE T-NSRE.
  • [08/2021] I am honoured to receive prestigious ARC DECRA Fellowship 2022! (announcement)
  • [08/2021] I was invited as the PC Member of AAMAS 2022, IJCAI 2022, and AAAI 2022.
  • [07/2021] A reinforcement learning from hierarchical critics method was accepted by IEEE T-NNLS. (code)
  • [06/2021] A spatiotemporal EEG source imaging method was accepted by IEEE TMI.
  • [05/2021] A weak human preference reinforcement learning was accepted by IEEE T-NNLS. (video)(code)
  • [03/2021] A reinforcement learning-based vehicle platoon control strategy was accepted by IEEE T-NNLS. (video)(code)
  • [02/2021] An online human brain-controlled human-agent interaction system demo was accepted by AAMAS 2021. (video)(code)
  • [02/2021] A reliability of EEG microstate analysis in densities was accepted by NeuroImage.
  • [01/2021] A comprehensive EEG-based BCI survey paper was accepted by IEEE-ACM TCBB.
  • [11/2020] I was invited as the SPC member of ICONIP 2020, and the PC member of AAAI 2020, AAMAS 2021, and IJCAI 2021.
  • [11/2020] I was selected as the Finalist [runner up] for Tasmanian STEM Young Researcher 2020.
  • [10/2020] A mountain driving environment demo work for autonomous vehicles was accepted by AAAI 2021. (video)
  • [08/2020] A brain evoked potential-guided representation study for visual classification was accepted by ICONIP 2020.
  • [06/2020] A fuzzy conflict measurement in decision making paper was accepted by IEEE TFS.
  • [05/2020] A reinforcement learning-based speed limit control in transportation work was accepted by IEEE TITS.
  • [03/2020] A multi-agent reinforcement learning interaction demo work was accepted by AAMAS 2020. (video)(code)
  • [02/2020] An uncertainty modelling in multi-agent information fusion work was accepted by AAMAS 2020.
  • [01/2020] A fuzzy interval time series forecasting model work was accepted by IEEE TFS.
  • [12/2019] Predicting EEG decision-making responses study was accepted by NeuroImage.
  • [05/2019] The first EEG recording description during a sustained-attention driving task was accepted by Scientific Data.
  • [02/2019] A visual stimulus inherent fuzzy entropy model for migraine patients was accepted by IEEE TFS. (code)

  • Call for Papers
  • [05/2024] Call for Papers: The 1st International Workshop on Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) for Multimedia Understanding, called BCI-MM 2024 , co-located with ACM MM 2024.
  • [03/2024] Call for Papers: Technical papers on substantial, original, and unpublished research in all aspects of Artificial Intelligence, at PRICAI 2024.
  • More
  • [02/2023] Special Session: New Trends of Adversarial Machine Learning for Data Fusion and Intelligent System at Information Fusion.
  • [08/2021] Program Chair: IEEE International Conference on Agents 2021 (IEEE ICA 2021). Welcome submissions.
  • [01/2021] Leading a Special Issue: Affective Computing and Regulation in Brain Computer Interface at Frontiers in Neuroscience.
  • [05/2020] Leading a Special Issue: Fuzzy Systems Toward Human-Explainable Artificial Intelligence and Their Applications at IEEE T-FS.
  • [04/2020] Leading a Special Session: Human-in-the-Loop Interactions in Machine Learning at ICONIP 2020.
  • [02/2020] Leading a Special Issue: Computational Intelligence and Human-Computer Interactions for Industrial Applications at IEEE T-II.
  • [12/2019] Leading a Special Session: Human-in-the-Loop Interactions in Fuzzy Reasoning and Machine Learning at IEEE-Fuzzy 2020.

Research Areas


To Prospective Students:
  • I am always open to recruit self-motivated, outstanding domestic/international PhD students who demonstrated strong background within my research areas. Interested candidates for PhD opportunities are strongly encouraged to contact me by email. Please attach your CV with academic transcripts and English test (if applicable), and discuss your research interest and experience (supported by a project/publication record). The (tuition+stipend) PhD scholarship will be provided through my research grant or university/industry financial support. In addition, self/external funded PhD students with research experience are acceptable.
  • I am always open to working with UniSA Honour and Master students for short-term research projects, and I usually take up to 2 students each year. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me by email and specify your research interest. The programming skill is required by demonstrating familiarity with at least one language (Python, Java, C++ ...). A vacation research scholarship may be provided to domestic students from all universities to explore a future career in research.

    Fundamental knowledge/skills for new research students
  • How to Quickly Learn Basics of Humans and AI/ML/Multiagent Systems?
  • How to Produce a Good/Top-tier Research Paper?

Research Expectations:
  • Expectations to students: If you are interested in doing a PhD, please think about it carefully before committing yourself to a PhD - Should you really do PhD? In addition to being diligent, honest and willing to learn new knowledge "on your own", you also need to demonstrate a solid background in computer science or related STEM fields and a genuine passion for solving critical emerging research problems. Your research outcomes shall target top-tier conference/journal publications or real-world impact to industry partners.
  • From supervisor support: PhD full scholarship, comprehensive training and career development will be provided for a mutual interest research area in 6 incremental levels: awareness, understanding, replication, elaboration, innovation, and pioneer. I commit at least 1-2 hours/week individual (1:1) meeting for each student to discuss research progress, particularly in the beginning period of the research journey. I also strongly support to students for internship, visiting, collaboration, and networking opportunities. I have co-supervised over 10 students to graduate, and my primarily supervised students are highly sought after by good employers, for both internship and full-time opportunities.
  • The list of my primarily supervised students/postdoc
  • Mingjun Fan (PhD) [2024 – present | from University of Melbourne]
  • Yugu Li (PhD) [2024 – present | from Chinese Academy of Sciences]
  • Jianglin Qiao (Postdoc) [2023 – present | from Western Sydney University | IIIA-CSIC, Spain]
  • Bin Chen (PhD) [2021 – present | from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications]
  • Linfeng Liang (Master) [2021 | from University of NSW | PhD candidate in Macquarie University]
  • Julia Jie Yun (Master/RA) [2020 – 2021 | from Nankai University | first job at Pitt&Sherry]
  • Xiaohu Li (Master) [2020 – 2021 | from University of Queensland | first job at Polixir]
  • Xinping Liu (Honour) [2020 – 2021 | Master degree in University of Washington]
  • Kai Chiu Wong (Master/RA) [2019 – 2020 | from City University of Hong Kong | first job at MyState Bank]


  • A full list of my publications can be found from my Google Scholar profile.
  • My significant research outcomes have been published by top-tier journal/conference venues (CORE A* & JCR Q1), such as IEEE TPAMI, TNNLS, TFS, TKDE, TMI, TNSRE, JBHI, AAMAS, AAAI ...


Associate Editor:

Guest Editor:

Program Committee Member/Reviewer:

  • Conferences: AAMAS, AAAI, IJCAI, NeurIPS, IEEE-Fuzzy, ICONIP, PRICAI, AJCAI ...


  • Unsupervised Methods in Analytics: Autumn and Spring, 2022 - Present.
  •   This course introduces the cluster and association analysis techniques and the skills for applying real-world datasets.
  • Programming Preparation (Python): Autumn and Spring, 2020 - 2021.
  •   This course introduces fundamental Python programming and its role in problem-solving to gain practical skills.
      I am the coodinator/lecturer and received "Provost Commendation Letter" in 2020.
  • Human-Computer Interaction: Autumn/Spring, 2019 - 2021.
  •   This course introduces the design process, user interaction and interface prototype design, evaluation, and iterations.
      I am the coodinator/lecturer and received "Provost Commendation Letter" in 2020 and 2021.


  • Top 2% Global Scientist, Stanford University and Elsevier, 2022 – 2023.
  • JSPS Invitation Fellow (short-term), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 2023.
  • IEEE TNNLS Outstanding Associate Editor Award, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, 2023.
  • STEM Early-career Researcher (ECR) Award: University of South Australia, 2022.
  • AInet Fellowship: DAAD [German Academic Exchange Service], 2022.
  • Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA): Australian Research Council, 2022 – 2025.
  • AI Chinese Young Scholar, Baidu, 2022.
  • More
  • The Finalist of Tasmanian Young STEM Researcher: Tasmanian Government, 2020 – 2021.
  • ACS Certified Professional (CP) Award: Australian Computer Society, 2020 – 2021.
  • China-Australia Millennial Project Scholarship: China Australia Millennial Project, 2018.
  • Best Student Paper Award: Centre for Artificial Intelligence, University of Technology Sydney, 2017.
  • Post-PhD Thesis Scholarship: Faculty of Engineering IT, University of Technology Sydney, 2017.
  • Publication Award: Faculty of Engineering IT, University of Technology Sydney, 2017.
  • UTS President PhD Scholarship: University of Technology Sydney, 2015 – 2017.
  • Songshan Lake PhD Scholarship: National Chiao Tung University and Dongguan Songshan Lake Admin., 2014 – 2017.
  • Outstanding MS Graduate: Electronic Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2013.


  • Warm Starts and Goal-based Heuristics to Improve MARL Performance in Advanced Distributed Defence, funded by DIP Collaborative Research, 2024.
  • Clinical Trial to Evaluate a Digital Self-management and Mental Health Intervention for Young People with Asthma and Their Families, funded by WCH Foundation, 2023 – 2026.
  • SpaceCraft Autonomy and Onboard AI for Next Generation Space Systems, funded by SmartSat CRC, 2023 – 2026.
  • Al-based Optimisation and Communication in Distributed Satellite Systems, funded by Australia-Germany Joint Research Scheme, 2023 – 2024.
  • A Closed-loop Human–Agent Learning Framework to Enhance Decision Making, funded by Australian Research Council - DECRA Fellowship, 2022 – 2025.
  • More
  • Operational Immersive Visualisation and Measurement of Dense Point Cloud Data in Forest Inventory, funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia, 2020 – 2022.
  • A Low Cost, Automated Data Collection and Defect Detection System for Paved Roads, funded by ISW Pty Ltd, 2020 – 2023.
  • Tasmanian Wool SmartFarm - Utilization of SmartTags in Early Detection of Sheep Re-Production, funded by Australian Wool Innovation Limited, 2020.
  • Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning in Support of Human-Machine Cooperative Systems, funded by Office of Naval Research Global, 2019 – 2022.
  • Intelligent Multi-agent Coordination and Learning, funded by Defence Science and Technology Group, 2018.
  • HealthSense - Technological Human Health Sensors Capable of Monitoring, and Providing Feedback and Intervention to the User, funded by NSW Defence Innovation Network, 2018.