A native of Jilin, China, Xin Kai Li was educated at the University of Jilin. He graduated with a first class honours degree in computational mathematics in 1982. He was awarded an MSc from Shenyang Institute of Computing Technology, Academia Sinica in 1984. He started his DPhil at Linacre College, the University of Oxford in 1987 and obtained a DPhil from Oxford University Computing Laboratory in 1990 for his work on mathematical modelling and numerical approximations for two-phase flow problems.
After PhD studies, he spent about two years as a Research Fellow at the Department of Engineering, University of Leicester, and then three years as a Shell Research Fellow at the Institute of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics and Department of Mathematics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He joined Department of Mathematical Sciences as a senior research fellow at the De Montfort University in 1996 and was then awarded a readership in computational fluid dynamics in April, 2000. He has been at the Department of Engineering since 2004.
After leaving Oxford, he has gradually involved himself in the activities of industrial and engineering problems while maintaining his interests in the development of mathematical model and analysis of new numerical algorithms. These two research areas are complementary since the development of the correct mathematical modelling and efficient numerical algorithms is crucial in order that complicated industrial and engineering problems can be simulated on modern computers. Over the past years, he has undertaken research on mathematical modelling and numerical methods in industrial multiphase flows and metal forming processes. In recent years, he has been working on mathematical modelling and numerical simulation for non-Newtonian complex fluids, i.e., computational rheology, which is one of challenging research areas in computational fluid dynamics.
He has written over fifty research journal papers and over twenty conference articles in the areas of numerical analysis, computational rheology, multiphase flows, metal forming processes and journal bearings. He has been also involved in developing a series of software packages for solving industrial and engineering problems. He is a member of British Society of Rheology since 1995.