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Athabasca University


Dr. Xiaokun Zhang

Associate Professor - School of Computing and Information Systems


Secondary Email:

Toll-free Phone#: 1866 603 9520

Education | Teaching Responsibilities | Academic Experience | Professional Memberships | Research Profiles and Interests | Publications | Academic Activities | Research Supervision | Current Projects |


  • Post secondary education (Post Doctor Study) in intelligent system group, joint group within the Dept. of Computer Science and Dept. of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary, Canada, 1998-2000
  • Ph.D. Computer integrated manufacturing engineering, Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU), Xi'an, China, 1995
  • M.S. Industrial automation in manufacturing engineering, NPU, 1986
  • B.S. Industrial automation in manufacturing engineering, NPU, 1983

Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate Courses:

  • COMP 268 Introduction to Computer Programming (Java)
  • COMP 272 Data Structures and Algorithms (Java)
  • COMP 308 Java for Programmers
  • COMP 314 Computer Organization
  • COMP 492 Semantic Web
  • COMP 495-496 Final Year Project


Graduate Courses:

  • COMP 617 Designing Real-time Software
  • COMP 696 Master's Essay 
  • COMP 697-699 Integration Project


Academic Experience

  • Associate Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, Athabasca University, since 2001.7
  • Nortel Research Fellow, Intelligent System Group, University of Calgary, 2000.4-2001.6
  • Visiting Professor, Intelligent System Laboratory, Dept. of Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa, USA, 1997.5-1997-10
  • Professor, Industrial Automation Division, College of Mechatronic Engineering, NPU, Xi'an, China, 1996.9-1998.3
  • Associate Professor, Industrial Automation Division, NPU, 1991.12-1996.8
  • Lecture and Assistant Professor, Industrial Automation Division, NPU, 1986.3-1991.11

Professional Memberships

IEEE member


Research Profiles and Interests

Area of Research

The research areas include collaboration technology and systems, knowledge-based software and semantics technology for adaptive learning, compositional theory and technology for real-time systems and control system applications. Current research interests or projects focus on the following aspects in the areas:

1.  Analysis, modeling, and architecture design of collaborative and virtual organization for sharing and retrieving user generated contents in collaborative learning; use of aspect-oriented approach in collaborative software learning; analysis of hypergraph models for behavioral and contextual semantics in collaboration systems; analysis and design of human-machine collaborative interaction and adaptive interface.

2. Design and analysis of self-regulated learning for software programming and language training; analysis and design of software execution semantics and ontology to enhance knowledge sharing for learning programming languages.

3. Use of compositional theory and interface semantics technology in real-time systems for the development of function block based control applications.



Journal Articles

  • Xiaokun Zhang and Osama Ahmad, Weaving proactive pedagogy agents into adaptive software components (in progress)   
  • Xiaokun Zhang and Osama Ahmad, Towards runtime tagged components and hypergraph-based collaboration for collaborative programming, (in progress)
  • Xiaokun Zhang, Jon Dron, Kinshuk, Goran Jelica, and Peter Holt, Engage tagged learning activity networks with collaborative programming, (in progress)
  • Robert W. Brennan, Xiaokun Zhang, Yuefei Xu, and Douglas H. Norrie, A Reconfigurable Concurrent Function Block Model and its Implementation in Real-time Java, Journal of Integrated Computer-Aided Engineering 9 (2002) 263–279, IOS Press, ISSN 1069-2509/02
  • Xiaokun Zhang, Sivaram Balasubramanian, Robert W. Brennan, and Douglas H. Norrie, Design and implementation of a real-time holonic control system for manufacturing, International Journal of Information Science, Vol.127, 2000, pp.23-44
  • Sivaram Balasubramanian, Xiaokun Zhang, and Douglas H. Norrie, Intelligent Control for Holonic Manufacturing Systems, accepted by the Journal of Engineering Manufacture, IMechE 2000, Vol.214 Part B, 2000, pp.953-961
  • Xiaokun Zhang, Yanwu Peng and Feng Geng, A mixed dispatching rule approach in job shop scheduling, Journal of Northwestern Polytechnic University, vol.14, NO.4, 1996, pp. 628-632, in Chinese
  • Yan Li, Zu’an Chen, Yuefei Xu, Xiaokun Zhang, and Peng Yanwu, Research on genetic algorithm for assignment problem and its realization, Journal of Xi’an University of Technology, Vol.12, No.4, 1996, pp. 271-276, in Chinese 
  • Yan Li, Yuefei Xu, Xiaokun Zhang, and Yanwu Peng, Integrated data based concept model for integrating Process Planning and job scheduling, Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology. NO.2, 1995, in Chinese
  • Yan Li, Xiaokun Zhang, Evaluation FMS Flexibility, Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology, NO.3, 1994 in Chinese.
  • Yan Li, Xiaokun Zhang, etc, Constraint optimization decision system of Shop IMCS, Journal of Xi'an University of Technology, vol.10, no.1, 1994, in Chinese
  • Yan Li, Yanwu Peng, and Xiaokun Zhang, Research on integration CAPP and Production planning system, Journal of China Mechanical Engineering, vol.5, NO.6, 1994, pp. 44-51, in Chinese
  • Xiaokun Zhang and Yanwu Peng, FMS intelligent scheduling system structure, Journal of Northwestern Polytechnic University, vol.9, 1991, pp. 54-60, in Chinese

Academic Activities

Journal Papers and Book Chapter Reviews

  • IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics (2009 special issue)
  • Journal of Integrated Computer-Aided Engineering
  • Journal of distance Education
  • Journal of Computers in Industry
  • International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (2008 special issue)
  • Book: Internet-Based Remote Laboratories 2010


Program Committee Member in Annual Conferences

  • International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design, since 2004
  • Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence, since 2008
  • International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems, since May 2011
  • IADIS Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction Conference, since 2007
  • International Conference on Software and Data Technologies, since 2005
  • IADIS Interfaces and e-Learning Conference, since 2007
  • IEEE International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, since 2010

Research Supervision

Ongoing graduate students’ projects

  • Analysis of using aspect-oriented programming in developing self-adaptive e-learning systems, till Dec. 2010
  • Small Screen; Big Problems: The Contributions and Promise of HCI (Past and Present) in Providing Usable Mobile Interfaces, 2010-2011

Current Projects

  • Supporting Cooperation in Remote Tool-based Projects, Nov. 2009-Dec.2010, principal researcher, $5330 supported by mission critical research fund
  • Cree Immersion and Moodle Learning Analytics - technology-enhanced guided learning experiences to improve aboriginal language learning progressions and performances, Nov. 2010- Mar. 2011, co-researcher, $6000 supported by mission critical research fund  

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