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Department of Media and Communication Center for Communication Research

Dr Xiaofan LIU 劉肖凡

BSc, PhD (HK PolyU)

Assistant Professor

Staff Photo

Contact Information

Office: M5083
Phone: +(852) 3442 8730
Fax: +(852) 3442 0228
Email: xf.liu@cityu.edu.hk
Personal CV: Personal CV
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Academic Profile

CityU Scholar
Google Scholar

Research Interests

  • Computational Social Sciences
  • Cryptocurrency and Dark Web
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in internet and multimedia technologies and the Ph.D. degree in network science from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Before joining CityU, I was an associate professor and the head of the Computer Engineering Department at Southeast University, Nanjing, China. Now I am also affiliated with Prof. Jonathan Zhu's Web Mining Lab, housed inside the Department of Media and Communication.

Research on COVID-19

A massive epidemiological survey dataset

  • Teamed with Prof. XU Xiao-Ke (Dalian Minzu University) and Prof. WU Ye (Beijing Normal University), we hand-coded daily COVID-19 case reports from Chinese local health commissions, extracted many useful epidemiological information, and released the dataset on GitHub and figshare.
  • The dataset has supported numerous publications in top tier venues including Science, Clinical Infectious Disease, and Emerging Infectious Disease.
  • The Paper press (澎湃) made a fabulous data visualization based on our data and won a major China data journalism award in 2021.
  • Read our blog post for the story behind this massive dataset (and on the unreadiness of artificial intelligence in fighting COVID-19 in its early stages).

Selected research papers and blog posts

Research on cryptocurrency and blockchain


  • such as Bitcoin, are the de facto standard payment medium in the Dark Web. Other than payments, cryptocurrencies are also used in various (mostly illicit) scenarios, such as (fraudulent) fundraising, speculating, and money laundering. However, all cryptocurrencies' transaction records are publicly available -- therefore unfolding a panorama of human financial behavior in the cryptocurrency economic body.

Talks and thoughts

Selected papers

Research on the Dark Web

The Dark Web

  • are web services running on the darknet, which a set of computer servers connected by and can only be accessed from encrypted networks. A common impression associated with the Dark Web is drug trading. But there are much more fun (and not that fun) stuffs going on in that corner of the Internet. The Darknet can be also considered as an anonymous communication channel from the perspective of the 5W communication theory, offering a unique chance to study human behaviors in an extremely covert environment.

Academic papers

  • Z.-C. Chen, E. Jardine, and X.F. Liu*, "Examining the Information Pathways Leading to the Darknet: A Cross-National Analysis," The virtual 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA2021), 27-31 May 2021.
  • Z.-C. Chen and X.F. Liu*, "Why Do Users Leave Anonymous Online Communities? An Exploratory Study of the Silk Road Forum on the Dark Web," The virtual 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA2021), 27-31 May 2021.
  • * corresponding author

Other Publications and Patents


  • 刘肖凡, & 谢智刚 (2015). 知诸网: 网络科学及其在艺术、金融和社会学中的应用. 科学出版社, 北京.

Other Selected Articles

  • Liu, X. F., Chen, H.-J., & Sun, W.-J. (2021). Adaptive topological coevolution of interdependent networks: Scientific collaboration-citation networks as an example. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 564, 125518. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physa.2020.125518
  • Liu, X. F., Liu, Y.-L., Lu, X.-H., Wang, Q.-X., & Wang, T.-X. (2016). The anatomy of the global football player transfer network: Club functionalities versus network properties. PLoS ONE, 11(6), e0156504. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156504
  • Liu, X. F., & Tse, C. K. (2012). A complex network perspective of world stock markets: synchronization and volatility. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 22(06), 1250142. https://doi.org/10.1142/S0218127412501428
  • Liu, X. F., Tse, C. K., & Small, M. (2010). Complex network structure of musical compositions: Algorithmic generation of appealing music. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 389(1), 126-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physa.2009.08.035

Full Publication List


  • 刘肖凡、李正龙,“群组间消息传播路径挖掘方法与系统”,中国发明,专利号 ZL 2017 1 01154048.7
  • 刘肖凡、李正龙,“一种基于在线社交平台群聊数据对群成员进行关联的系统及方法”,中国发明,专利号 ZL 2016 1 0482435.3
  • 庆光蔚、王会方、丁树庆、冯月贵、刘肖凡、高逸夫、胡静波、冯文龙、韩郡业、张军、米涌、王建华、梁秉、方铭杰,“一种基于最小加权时间距离的电梯救援站点最优选址方法”,中国发明,专利号 ZL 2017 1 0236990.2 (国家市场监管总局2020年度市场监管科研成果二等奖
  • 蔡成委、韦志群、刘肖凡,“一种基于用户画像动态轨迹模型的广告推荐方法及系统”,中国发明,公开号 CN108665083A,公开日2018年10月16日。