Zerui Cheng (程泽瑞)

Zerui Cheng (程泽瑞)

Ph.D. student at Princeton Univ., B.Eng from the Honored Yao Class of Tsinghua University

Princeton University

Welcome to Zerui Cheng’s homepage~

I’m a first-year Ph.D. student fortunately advised by Prof. Pramod Viswanath at Princeton. My current research lies in the intersection of AI and blockchains, the two technologies which I believe will have groundbreaking impact on shaping our future society, with two main goals: “AI for Blockchains” to energize today’s blockchains with advances in AI, “Blockchains for AI” to bring fairness and transparency to the era of AI.

Previously, I received B.Eng. in Computer Science from the Honored Yao Class at Tsinghua University. During undergrad, I worked closely with Prof. Zhixuan Fang, and I was fortunate to be the recipient of Yao Award, Yao Class summa cum laude, and the Excellent Diploma Thesis Award. I was also grateful to be funded by Yao Class to visit Prof. Fan Zhang’s research group at Duke University and Prof. Dawn Song’s research group at the University of California, Berkeley as an intern in 2022.

Google Scholar profile       Curriculum Vitae

  • Generative AI
  • Blockchains
  • Ph.D. Student (2023.8 - now)

    Electrical and Computer Engineering, Princeton University

  • Bachelor in Engineering (2019.8 - 2023.6)

    Yao Class, the Insititute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS), Tsinghua University

Recent Highlights

[May 2024] (personal update)

Started my internship as an AI fellow at Sentient, hoping to build and innovate at the intersection of AI and blockchains!

[May 2024] (competitive programming)

Representing Princeton University and sitting on top of the leaderboard for the opening 40 minutes during the contest, our team (Princeton-1) finally ranked 22nd place at ICPC North America Championship 2024. We were the awardee of “First solution in the contest” and “First Solve of Problem D”, and won a $3,000 prize for this achievement. (Team Reaction Cut on Youtube ICPC Official Channel, Award Ceremony, Final Scoreboard)

[May 2024] (competitive programming)

I was grateful to be invited as a finalist to compete in MIT Informatics Tournament Spring Invitational 2024. Only top-16 contestants in the United States qualify for the final.

[Dec 2023] (competitive programming)

Our team ranked 1st place in the Princeton Computer Science Contest (COSCON) Fall 2023! (Event Website, Final Scoreboard)

[Oct 2023] (competitive programming)

Representing Princeton University, our team (Princeton-1) ranked third place and won bronze medal in ICPC Greater New York Regional (Live Stream Replay, Event Website, Final Scoreboard).

It’s a shame we didn’t manage to bring the trophy back to Princeton by a narrow margin, but good news is that we advanced to the ICPC North America Championship 2024, and we’ll come back stronger. See you in Orlando in May 2024!

[Aug 2023] (personal update)

Started my Ph.D. journey in Prof. Pramod Viswanath’s research group at Princeton University!

[Jul 2023] (paper alert)

The whitepaper of our newly established decentralized AI platform SAKSHI is online now!

[Jun 2023] (personal update)

Graduated from Yao Class, Tsinghua University with B.Eng. degree.

I felt happy and excited to receive the Tsinghua University Excellent Diploma Thesis Award for my graduation dissertation (5 out of 94 are selected in Yao Class).

And I also felt humbled to be awarded the Yao Class summa cum laude (23 out of 94 are selected in Yao Class).

[May 2023] (paper alert)

Our paper Crowdsourcing Work as Mining: A Decentralized Computation and Storage Paradigm was accepted to APNet 2023!

[Jan 2023] (misc)

I‘m fortunate to be selected as a participant in this year’s TV program <Super Brain: Season 10> on Jiangsu channel (broadcast at 21:10 every Friday, Beijing time). Stay tuned for my performance!

[Nov 2022] (misc)

After serving as the vice president and deputy secretary for a year, I was grateful to be elected the president of Yao Class Students' Congress!

[Sep 2022] (honors)

I felt honored and extremely excited to receive this year’s Yao Award for my undergraduate achievements!

[Aug 2022] (paper alert)

Our paper zkBridge: Trustless Cross-chain Bridges Made Practical was accepted to ACM CCS 2022!


  • My research interests are genearlly within the scope of blockchains. I used to do research from the perspective mechanism design and applied cryptography, and now I’m exploring how to equip blockchains with the recent incredible advances in generative AI under the guidance of Prof. Pramod Viswanath.

  • Since sophomore year, I have been advised by Prof. Zhixuan Fang to conduct scientific research on blockchain at Tsinghua University, and it’s the initiation and enlightenment of my stepping into scientific research. During this period, I completed a research project: Game Theoretical Analysis of Multiple Selfish Mining on Blockchains, and my first academic research paper: Crowdsourcing Work as Mining: A Decentralized Computation and Storage Paradigm.

  • I was fortunate to be accepted as a research intern in the spring and summer of 2022, advised by Prof. Fan Zhang at Duke University and Prof. Dawn Song at the University of California, Berkeley. I carried out research on two projects during the internship. One was the analysis and simulation of side contracts against EIP-1559 in Ethereum, and the other was the design and implementation of cross-chain bridge protocols (the paper was accepted to ACM CCS 2022 and it’s my first-ever publication).

  • I served as a reviewer for IEEE JSAC Special Issue (Intelligent Blockchain) 2022 and reviewed 2 papers.

  • The list of published papers and their details is attached below.



    * Onsite contests:

    In high school, I was a two-time silver medalist of the Chinese National Olympiad in Informatics (both in 2017 and 2018).

    During undergrad, representing Tsinghua University, I won a gold prize in ICPC (International Collegiate Programming Contest) Regional, a silver prize in ICPC East Asia Continental Final, and 2 gold prizes in CCPC (Chinese Collegiate Programming Contest).

    Now, representing Princeton University, I won an overall third place and bronze medal in ICPC Greater New York Regional 2023 and advanced to ICPC North America Continental Championship 2024.

    * Online contests:

    I rank 16/182,781 worldwide (and 2nd in China) on Hackerrank (leaderboard here).

    I also compete on Codeforces (see my profile here) and CSAcademy (see my profile here).

    * Problem Setting:

    Besides, I’m also an experienced problem setter for competitive programming contests.

    I have set and tested a number of problems for various contests.

    I’m the main author of Codeforces Round #447 (problemset here)

    I’m also a problem setter of the Chinese National Olympiad in Informatics in 2021. Here is the problem I set (original version in Chinese, English translation).


    • I was gratefully elected and served as the president of Yao Class Students' Congress at Tsinghua University for 2022-23 academic year, and I was the vice president and deputy secretary the year before.

    • I’m a member of the Algorithm Association at Tsinghua University. And I served as the problem setter and coordinator of a number of contests (including National Olympiad in Informatics (2021), Tsinghua University Programming Contest (2020, 2021, 2022)).

    • I was a volunteer for the 110th anniversary of Tsinghua University.


    • Fan of NBA, Formula 1, and European Soccer. My favorite sporting stars include Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors, NBA), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, F1), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari, F1), and Marco Reus (BVB Dortmund, Bundesliga).

    • Amateur yet enthusiastic player of Geoguessr and HugeQuiz (especially in geography and sports).

    • Fan of stand-up comedies (including both Chinese-style cross-talk and American-style talk shows) and musicals. My favorite musicals include “Hamilton” and “Les Miserables”.

    • Fan of music, especially those in musicals or in “Gu-Feng” (ancient Chinese) style.

    • I am also fond of playing basketball, although I don’t have strong skills and can’t often win a game :(