Hengrui Cai (蔡亨瑞)

Hengrui Cai (蔡亨瑞)

Assistant Professor in Statistics

University of California Irvine


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics at University of California Irvine. I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU), co-advised by Dr. Wenbin Lu and Dr. Rui Song. Prior to that, I obtained a B.S. in Statistics from Zhejiang University in July 2017.

I have broad research interests in methodology and theory in causal inference, reinforcement learning, graphical model, and their interchanges, to establish reliable, powerful, and interpretable solutions to wide real-world problems. Currently, my main research work includes individualized optimal decision making with complex data, policy evaluation in reinforcement/deep learning, and causal discovery for high-dimensional individual mediation analysis, directly motivated by precision medicine, customized economics, personalized marketing, modern epidemiology, etc.

Click here for my name in Chinese and how to pronounce it.

Download my CV . Contact me: hengrc1@uci.edu

  • Causal Inference and Causal Structure Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning and Bandits
  • Natural Language Processing and Explainable Deep Learning
  • Precision Medicine
  • PhD in Statistics, 2022

    North Carolina State University

  • B.S. in Statistics, 2017

    Zhejiang University

Awards and Honors

  • The Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) Research Award, University of California Irvine, 2023
  • Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCL) Award, University of California Irvine, 2023
  • Amazon Web Services Cloud Research Award, Amazon, 2022
  • ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award, The International Biometric Society, 2020
  • Nominated for the Outstanding TA Award, NCSU, 2019 and 2021
  • Mu Sigma Rho, National Statistics Honor Society, NCSU, 2017 - Present
  • National Undergraduate Research Fund, 2017
  • Meritorious Winner in American Mathematical Contest, 2016



(* co-first author, ___ graduate student)


(* co-first author, ___ graduate student)


  • Wenbo Zhang (Ph.D. Student)
  • Shih Ting Huang (Master Student)
  • Louis Chu (Undergraduate Student)
  • Guanchen Wu (Undergraduate Student)
  • Miya Wang (Undergraduate Student)
  • Wang Ma (Undergraduate Student)


University of California Irvine (2022-)


  • STATS 120C/281C: Introduction to Probability and Statistics III (Spring 2023, two sections)

North Carolina State University (Prior to 2022)

Lab Instructor:

  • ST 703: Statistical Methods I (Fall 2019)
  • ST 114: Introduction to Statistical Programming - Python (Spring 2022)

Teaching Fellow:

  • ST 422: Introduction to Mathematical Statistics II (Fall 2021)
  • ST 745: Analysis of Survival Data (Spring 2021)
  • ST 405/505: Applied Nonparametric Statistics (Fall 2020)
  • ST 311: Introduction to Statistics (Spring 2019)
  • ST 790: Financial Statistics (Fall 2018)
  • ST 312: Introduction to Statistics II (Spring 2018)
  • ST 511: Introduction to Statistics for Biological Sciences (Fall 2018)
  • ST 350: Economic and Business Statistics (Fall 2017)


  • DJL: Deep Jump Learning for Off-Policy Evaluation in Continuous Treatment Settings. Available on GitHub.

  • ANOCE-CVAE: Analysis of Causal Effects with Multiple Mediators via Constrained Structural Learning. Available on GitHub.

  • CODA: Calibrated Optimal Decision Making with Multiple Data Sources and Limited Outcome. Available on GitHub.

  • CAPITAL: Optimal Subgroup Identification via Constrained Policy Tree Search. Available on GitHub.

  • JQL: Jump Q-Learning for Individualized Interval-Valued Dose Rule. Available on CRAN.

  • APtool: Average Positive Predictive Values (AP) for Binary Outcomes and Censored Event Times. Available on CRAN.

  • APRL: Assets Portfolio Model by Reinforcement Learning. Available on GitHub.