Mingyu Derek Ma 🗽
Mingyu Derek Ma

PhD Candidate

    UCLA Computer Science
derek.ma at ucla.edu

I am a PhD candidate in Computer Science at UCLA working with Prof. Wei Wang. I’m currently a research intern at Genentech Prescient Design.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Computing from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University with First Class Honours in 2018, advised by Prof. Qin Lu and Prof. Jiannong Cao. I studied as an exchange student at the University of Maryland in 2016. I’ve also spent time at Amazon Alexa AI (working with Dr. Jiun-Yu Kao and Dr. Tagyoung Chung), USC Information Sciences Institute (working with Prof. Nanyun (Violet) Peng and Prof. Muhao Chen), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (working with Prof. Helen Meng), UC Santa Cruz (working with Prof. Marilyn Walker) and MIT (working with Dr. Abel Sanchez and Prof. John R. Williams).

I’m interested in Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and AI4Science. My research focuses on generative language models, especially in the clinical, medical, and science domains:

Recent News

New preprint on LLM ownership protection

In InstructionalFingerprint, we present a pilot study on LLM fingerprinting as a form of very lightweight instruction tuning. Model publisher specifies a confidential private key and implants it as an instruction backdoor that causes the LLM to generate specific text when the key is present. Results on 11 popularly-used LLMs showed that this approach is lightweight and does not affect the normal behavior of the model.

New preprint on bias mitigation

In BMBI, we propose to mitigate bias exhibited in QA models by observing the query instance’s influence on another instance, enabling bias mitigation with extremely low resources. With our method, bias levels in multiple bias categories can be reduced without using category-specific instance-level annotation.

Presenting at INTERSPEECH 2023 🇮🇪

Oral presentation of the conf paper: Parameter-Efficient Low-Resource Dialogue State Tracking by Prompt Tuning. In the collaboration work with Amazon Alexa AI, we introduce a dialogue state tracking model tuning less than 1% of LM parameters and achieves better low-resource performance with prompt tuning techniques.

Data Science for ALL

Check out course materials for the 2-week summer program “Data Science for ALL” that were just delivered by our joint team from UCI and UCLA!

Featured Publications
Curriculum Vitae


  1. Genentech Prescient Design

    Machine Learning Intern
    Jun - Sep 2024, New York City, NY
  2. Amazon Alexa AI

    Applied Scientist Intern with Jiun-Yu Kao, Arpit Gupta, Yu-Hsiang Lin, Wenbo Zhao, Kai-Wei Chang, Nanyun Peng and Tagyoung Chung
    Jun - Sep 2022, Sunnyvale, CA
  3. Amazon Alexa AI

    Applied Scientist Intern with Jiun-Yu Kao, Shuyang Gao, Arpit Gupta, Di Jin, Nanyun Peng and Tagyoung Chung
    Jun - Sep 2021, Remote
  1. UCLA Computer Science Department

    Graduate Student Researcher / Teaching Assistant
    Since Sep 2020, Los Angeles, CA
  2. USC Information Sciences Institute

    Graduate Research Assistant to Dr. Nanyun Peng, Aug 2019 - Aug 2020; Marina del Rey, CA
    Knowledge-directed Artificial Intelligence Reasoning Over Schemas
  3. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Human-Computer Communications Lab

    Research Assistant with Prof. Helen Meng
    Jan - Jul 2019, Hong Kong
  4. UC Santa Cruz Natural Language and Dialogue Systems Lab

    Research Intern with Prof. Marilyn Walker
    Jun - Oct 2018, Santa Cruz, CA
  5. PolyU Department of Computing

    Undergraduate Research Assistant with Prof. Qin Lu and Prof. Jiannong Cao
    Jan 2017 - June 2018, Hong Kong
  6. MIT Geospatial Data Center

    Research Intern with Dr. Abel Sanchez and Prof. John R. Williams
    Jul - Aug 2017, Cambridge, MA


  1. University of California, Los Angeles

    PhD Student in Computer Science
    Since 2020, Los Angeles, CA
  2. University of Southern California

    PhD Student in Computer Science
    2019 - 2020, Los Angeles, CA
  3. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

    Bachelor of Science in Computing (First Class Honours)
    2014 - 2018, Hong Kong
    Best Capstone Project Award (Top 1%), Graduate Representative for Valedictory Speech
  4. University of Maryland, College Park

    Exchange Student
    2016, College Park, MD


  • Amazon Fellowship , 2024
  • Outstanding Project Award - Best Capstone Project Award Competition, PolyU Dept. of Computing (1/100) , 2018
  • HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund Talent Development Scholarship , 2018
  • Silver Award - Hong Kong ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Awards (website | wiki) Student Innovation Award (Tertiary or Above), Hong Kong Government , 2018
  • Champion and Most Innovative Award (HKSAR) - Imagine Cup (website | wiki), Microsoft , 2017
  • Commercial Radio 50th Anniversary Scholarship, Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company Limited & PolyU (1/400) , 2017
  • Winner - Hong Kong Techathon, PolyU and City University of Hong Kong , 2018
  • CMA (The Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong) & Donors Scholarship (3/100) , 2018
  • Champion - PolyU Smart Computing Competition (website) , 2017
  • Best Creative Service Project - Youth Volunteer Service Conference (website) , 2017
  • PolyU Undergraduate Summer Research Abroad Sponsorship , 2017
  • PolyU Chinese Mainland and Overseas Activities Fund , 2016
  • Wong Tit-Shing Student Exchange Scholarship , 2016
  • PolyU Exchange Scholarship , 2016