Hugo Liu, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist,
Researcher, MIT Media Lab


Hugo Liu, Ph.D. is a taste researcher and Chief Scientist of, a recently acquired division of eBay.

Also a researcher at the MIT Media Laboratory, where he received his Ph.D. in computer models of taste and taught courses on artificial intelligence and the philosophy of aesthetics, Liu's work focuses on the worlds of food, fashion, lifestyle and consumer culture.

Liu has worked on a compellingly diverse range of projects. For example, he wrote a program called The Synesthetic Cookbook that lets users browse recipes by emotions, leading to a feature in The New York Times Magazine's 2005 Year In Ideas issue. He collaborated with a Scotch blender to create personalized single-bottle whiskey blends that evoke childhood memories. He worked with a fashion predictives firm to forecast color and textile trends using data mining. And he created a system called Gulp Fiction, a self-composing, imagination-based cookbook powered by keyword entry, that earned him a chef profile in the Los Angeles Times.

Among his achievements in the food arena, Liu presented his research on computational models of food and wine at Robert Mondavi Winery's 40th Anniversary celebration and served on the speaking faculty at the 2007 Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers.

A well-published and highly cited academic in the areas of sentiment analysis, commonsense reasoning and taste modeling, Liu has authored over 30 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, resulting in two best paper prizes and coverage by a number of media outlets, including The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Technology Review, Slashdot and San Jose Mercury News.

Liu has also edited two academic volumes on the topics of AI Approaches to Beauty and Happiness and Semantics of People and Culture.

Complementing his work as a taste scientist, Liu is also a product designer and advises a portfolio of cutting edge Internet startups, including SiteAdvisor (acquired by McAfee), ScanScout (acquired by Tremor Media), Smarterer, Brewster and Done.