Zhi-Li joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Minnesota in January 1997, where he is now a Full Professor. While a junior student at Nanjing, Zhi-Li led a team of senior students for their senior design projects. He was one of five students selected for graduate study exempted from the graduate school entrance exam at Nanjing University. Shortly afterwards, he was awarded a highly selective fellowship from the Chinese National Committee for Education for graduate study in Europe, and studied at the Computer Science Department, Århus University, Denmark. Zhi-Li is a Fellow of IEEE.