2021 Incoming Grad Series: Xinyu Liu

by Chava Nerenberg, Graduate Programming Assistant
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 8:00 AM

The 2021 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts about 8 students who are part of the entering class at UCSB.

Xinyu Liu is coming to UCSB from Beijing, China to pursue a Master's in Computer Science. Read on to learn about her research in computational neuroscience, her love of martial arts, and her role in distributing news articles about J.R.R. Tolkien to Chinese audiences!





Xinyu was was born in Tianjin, China. She told us that the city is famous for "crosstalk"--a comedic monologue or dialogue--and for a delicious snack food of pancakes rolled around crisp fritters. When she was 5, her family moved to Beijing, where she has lived ever since. After graduating from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science, she spent a year working for a computational neuroscience lab. She told us that since primary school, she has lived in the same 10 kilometer radius, but has always dreamed of seeing other parts of the world. She is therefore very excited to fly across the Pacific Ocean and began her graduate life in Santa Barbara.


Xinyu chose UCSB because she loved its research-focused atmosphere. She said she is excited to be surrounded by other graduate students "who are exploring the boundaries of science." She is also looking forward to living near the beach, as she loves the ocean and eating seafood.



Xinyu will be entering the Master’s program in Computer Science and is interested in pursuing research in computational neuroscience, which she explains is focused on decoding neural systems through computational modeling and simulation. She told us that she is intrigued by the fact that human brains and neural systems are small in size, but are able to handle an incredible number of complicated computations with little delay. During her gap year after graduating with her Bachelor's degree, she worked in a computational neuroscience lab, and learned that models can be used to explain neuron activity related to brain functions (like memory) or diseases (like epilepsy). She said, "The secret of the brain appeals to me, and developments in this field may help people who are suffering from neural system diseases."



Xinyu is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and other books written by J.R.R. Tolkien. She volunteers in an organization of Tolkien fans and is the chief editor of the organization's news group. She told us, "We collect, translate, and edit worldwide news about Tolkien and his works and publish the collections monthly on Chinese social platforms."

Xinyu also enjoys martial arts, and writes martial arts-themed fiction.

She told us her friends argue about her accent in her native Mandarin Chinese, debating whether she sounds like she is from Beijing or Tianjin or has a "standard" Chinese accent.

Xinyu used to describe herself as a "homebody," but during the pandemic she took up hiking and is currently exploring the mountains around Beijing. She also loves singing, despite once being eliminated in the first round of a schoolwide competition during college.

Welcome, Xinyu!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series.