IDS Distinguished Speaker Series #2: Towards AI-Powered Data-Informed Education

IDS Distinguished Speaker Series #2
Professor Sihem Amer-Yahia

Host: HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science
Co-Host: Centre for Information Technology in Education (CITE), Faculty of Education, HKU
Title: Towards AI-Powered Data-Informed Education
Speaker: Professor Sihem Amer-Yahia, CNRS Research Director, Lab of Informatics of Grenoble, France
Moderator: Professor Reynold Cheng, Associate Director of HKU IDS; Professor, Department of Computer Science, HKU
Date: Jan 31, 2023
Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Mode: Hybrid. Seats for on-site participants are limited. A confirmation email will be sent to participants who have successfully registered.

Seminar recording:

Abstract

The COVID-19 health crisis has seen an increase in the use of digital work platforms from videoconferencing systems to MOOC-type educational platforms and crowdsourcing and freelancing marketplaces. These levers for sharing knowledge and learning constitute the premises of the future of work. Educational technologies coupled with AI hold the promise of helping learners and teachers. However, they are still limited in terms of social interactions, user experience and learning opportunities as they must address a tension between learner-centered and platform-centered goals. Professor Amer-Yahia will describe research at the intersection of data-informed recommendations and education theory and conclude with ethical considerations in building educational platforms.

Speaker

Professor Sihem Amer-Yahia
CNRS Research Director @ Lab of Informatics of Grenoble, France
Sihem Amer-Yahia is a Silver Medal CNRS Research Director and Deputy Director of the Lab of Informatics of Grenoble. She works on exploratory data analysis and fairness in job marketplaces. Before joining CNRS, she was Principal Scientist at QCRI, Senior Scientist at Yahoo! Research and Member of Technical Staff at at&t Labs. Sihem is PC chair for SIGMOD 2023 and vice president of the VLDB Endowment. She currently leads the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative for the database community. 
Professor Amer-Yahia is a Visiting Research Professor, under the Visiting Research Professors Scheme for the year 2020-23 hosted by Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong.

Moderator

Professor Reynold Cheng
Associate Director @ the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science; Professor @ Department of Computer Science, HKU

Professor Reynold Cheng is a Professor of the Department of Computer Science in the University of Hong Kong (HKU). His research interests are in data science, big graph analytics and uncertain data management. He was the Assistant Professor in the Department of Computing of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) from 2005 to 2008. He received his BEng (Computer Engineering) in 1998, and MPhil (Computer Science and Information Systems) in 2000 from HKU. He then obtained his MSc and PhD degrees from Department of Computer Science of Purdue University in 2003 and 2005.

Prof. Cheng has received numerous academic awards, and he is also the Associate Director of the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science. For full biography of Prof. Cheng, please browse: https://datascience.hku.hk/reynold-cheng/

For information, please contact:
Email: idatasci@hku.hk

IT Officer (Multimedia) / Multimedia Development Assistant (at the rank of IT Officer / IT Technician)

Careers at IDS

IT Officer (Multimedia) / Multimedia Development Assistant (at the rank of IT Officer / IT Technician)

Position  

Applications are invited for the appointment as an IT Officer (Multimedia) / Multimedia Development Assistant (at the rank of IT Officer / IT Technician) in the HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science (HKU IDS) (Job Ref.: 518982), (to commence as soon as possible, on a two-year fixed-term basis with contract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirement benefits scheme, totally up to 10% of basic salary, and with the possibility of renewal).

Qualification  

Applicants should possess a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Multimedia or related disciplines, with at least 3 years of relevant experience. A good command of written and spoken English and Chinese as well as excellent communication skills, problem-solving skills and be able to work well with our dynamic Team under a fast-paced environment. Candidates with less working experience shall be considered as IT Technician. Fresh graduates with strong motivation to learn are welcome.

We are looking for applicants who are good at the following areas:

  • Ability to execute video shooting and capture high-quality video and audio footage;
  • Excellent postproduction skills including color grading, animation and sound mixing;
  • Ability to produce fresh and innovative creatives that translate complex ideas into promotional materials, social media, infographics, UI/UX and other digital experiences;
  • Strongly skilled in design software and technologies, such as Adobe Creative Suite (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Lightroom, etc.);
  • Eager to learn and apply the latest image, video and AI-assisted creative tools;
  • Experiences in corporate marketing for digital and multimedia work will be an advantage;
  • Extensive know-how in HTML, CSS/UI frameworks, responsive design will be a plus;
  • Experience in CMS, CRM, low-code and web applications that would automate administrative work processes will be a plus;
  • Experience in 3D visual tools (e.g. blender) will be a plus

The appointee will be responsible for the delivery of digital content to the Institute and implementation of the new IT and multimedia initiatives. H/She will support the production of videos, static & interactive materials, live events; development and enhancement to the UI/UX of web applications for institute operations; the appointee will also be assigned to support the development of new systems for teaching and learning operations which will be implemented in a later stage.

A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medical benefits.

Application

If you are passionate about multimedia production, and are looking for an exciting opportunity to join a leading institute of data science, please submit your design portfolio of your work for consideration. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview and/or a skills test.

The University only accepts online application for the above post. Applicants should apply online and upload an up-to-date C.V. as well as a design portfolio. Review of applications will commence as soon as possible and continue until February 28, 2023, or until the post is filled, whichever is earlier. 

Apply Now

HKU IDS is featured in the HKU Annual Report 2022

HKU IDS is featured in the HKU Annual Report 2022

The establishment of HKU IDS is featured in the HKU Annual Report 2022, demonstrating the strength and significance of the Institute in the research development blueprint of the University. Visit the following pages to learn more about HKU IDS, our research talents recruited under the HKU-100 Campaign, and the future development in Tech Landmark.
 

IDS Distinguished Speaker Series #1: On the Principles of Parsimony and Self-Consistency: Structured Compressive Closed-Loop Transcription

IDS Distinguished Speaker Series #1
Professor Yi Ma

Host: HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science
Co-Host: Department of Computer Science, HKU
Title: On the Principles of Parsimony and Self-Consistency: Structured Compressive Closed-Loop Transcription
Speaker: Professor Yi Ma, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
Moderator: Professor TW Lam, Head of the Department of Computer Science, HKU
Date: Nov 25, 2022
Time: 3:00 – 4:00pm
Mode: Hybrid. Seats for on-site participants are limited. A confirmation email will be sent to participants who have successfully registered.

Seminar recording:

Abstract

Ten years into the revival of deep networks and artificial intelligence, we propose a theoretical framework that sheds light on understanding deep networks within a bigger picture of intelligence in general. We introduce two fundamental principles, Parsimony and Self-consistency, that address two fundamental questions regarding Intelligence: what to learn and how to learn, respectively. We argue that these two principles can be realized in entirely measurable and computable ways for an important family of structures and models, known as a linear discriminative representation (LDR). The two principles naturally lead to an effective and efficient computational framework, known as a compressive closed-loop transcription, that unifies and explains the evolution of modern deep networks and modern practices of artificial intelligence. Within this framework, we will see how fundamental ideas in information theory, control theory, game theory, sparse coding, and optimization are closely integrated in such a closed-loop system, all as necessary ingredients to learn autonomously and correctly. We demonstrate the power of this framework for learning discriminative, generative, and autoencoding models for large-scale real-world visual data, with entirely white-box deep networks, under all settings (supervised, incremental, and unsupervised). We believe that these two principles are the cornerstones for the emergence of intelligence, artificial or natural, and the compressive closed-loop transcription is a universal learning engine that serves as the basic learning units for all autonomous intelligent systems, including the brain.

Related papers can be found at:
https://arxiv.org/abs/2207.04630 and https://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/24/4/456/htm.

Speaker

Professor Yi Ma
Professor @ Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
Yi Ma is a Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include computer vision, high-dimensional data analysis, and intelligent systems. Yi received his Bachelor’s degrees in Automation and Applied Mathematics from Tsinghua University in 1995, two Masters degrees in EECS and Mathematics in 1997, and a PhD degree in EECS from UC Berkeley in 2000. He has been on the faculty of UIUC ECE from 2000 to 2011, the principal researcher and manager of the Visual Computing group of Microsoft Research Asia from 2009 to 2014, and the Executive Dean of the School of Information Science and Technology of ShanghaiTech University from 2014 to 2017. He then joined the faculty of UC Berkeley EECS in 2018. He has published about 60 journal papers, 120 conference papers, and three textbooks in computer vision, generalized principal component analysis, and high-dimensional data analysis. He received the NSF Career award in 2004 and the ONR Young Investigator award in 2005. He also received the David Marr prize in computer vision from ICCV 1999 and best paper awards from ECCV 2004 and ACCV 2009. He has served as the Program Chair for ICCV 2013 and the General Chair for ICCV 2015. He is a Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and SIAM.

Moderator

Professor TW Lam
Head of the Department of Computer Science, HKU

Professor TW Lam joined HKU after receiving his PhD in Computer Science from University of Washington in 1988. He served as an associate dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 2001 to 2006 and is currently the Head of the Computer Science Department and the Executive Director of the HKU-SCF FinTech Academy. His research ranges from theoretical analysis of algorithms to big data analytics for health informatics. He has published over 200 research articles in international conferences and journals, and the most impactful ones come from the engineering work in bioinformatics software. More recently, he has been aspiring to tackle industrial problems with intricate algorithmic techniques and has been awarded a number of ITF grants. In 2014, he together with Professor D Cheung and Dr R Luo has co-founded a startup company to advance the bioinformatics software technologies for analyzing high-throughput DNA sequencing data for clinical applications. Professor Lam loves teaching, especially in inspiring students to learn theoretical subjects. He has received several teaching awards from the Department and the Faculty, as well as a University-level research student supervisor award.

For information, please contact:
Email: idatasci@hku.hk

HKU-IDS Scholar Seminar Series #2: Huge Language Models: Why They Matter, How They Work, And When They Fail

HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science (HKU-IDS) proudly presents the second event under the “HKU-IDS Scholar Seminar Series” which will run through the year of 2022-23.  The seminar series features the HKU-IDS new recruits under HKU-100 Professoriate Recruitment Campaign forming the backbone for the Institute’s cross-disciplinary collaboration. These young talents are co-hosted by IDS and different Departments including Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Architecture, Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Mathematics.

Title: Huge Language Models: Why They Matter, How They Work, And When They Fail
Speaker: Dr. Tao Yu, the HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science and Department of Computer Science, HKU
Moderator: Professor Reynold Cheng, Associate Director of the HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science; Professor of Department of Computer Science, HKU
Date: November 17, 2022
Time: 4:00 – 5:00pm

Seminar recording:

Abstract

Recently, we have seen dramatic advances in natural language processing (NLP) driven by huge pre-trained language models such as GPT-3 and DALLE-2. Instead of building many small task-specific models, there is a movement to create and use these more all-purpose huge language models for many NLP applications. The most intriguing finding is that these models employ a new learning paradigm: in-context learning, where they learn to do a downstream task simply by conditioning on a prompt consisting of a few input-output examples without any parameter updates. In this seminar, the speaker will provide a short overview of these language models, discuss their recent progress, why they matter, how they work, and when they fail.

Speaker

Dr Tao YU
Assistant Professor @ Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science & Department of Computer Science, HKU 

Tao Yu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong. He is also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Washington and a co-director of the NLP group at The University of Hong Kong. His research interest is in Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning, with a focus on designing and building conversational natural language interfaces that can help humans explore and reason over data in any application (e.g., relational databases and mobile apps) in a robust and trusted manner. He has published and served in the program committee at ACL, EMNLP, ICLR, NAACL, etc. He co-organized the Interactive and Executable Semantic Parsing workshop at EMNLP 2020, and was recently awarded the “Fall 2021 Amazon Research Award”. For more details, please browse this page.

Dr. Yu is currently involved in a research project titled “Democratizing data science via conversational executable natural language understanding: building AI collaborators for everyone including laypeople via a natural language interface to coding, databases, and apps.”

Moderator

Professor Reynold CHENG
Associate Director @ the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science; Professor @ Department of Computer Science, HKU

Reynold Cheng is a Professor of the Department of Computer Science in the University of Hong Kong (HKU). His research interests are in data science, big graph analytics and uncertain data management. He was the Assistant Professor in the Department of Computing of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) from 2005 to 2008. He received his BEng (Computer Engineering) in 1998, and MPhil (Computer Science and Information Systems) in 2000 from HKU. He then obtained his MSc and PhD degrees from Department of Computer Science of Purdue University in 2003 and 2005.

Prof. Cheng has received numerous academic awards, and he is also the Associate Director of the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science. For full biography of Prof. Cheng, please browse: https://datascience.hku.hk/reynold-cheng/

For information, please contact:
Email: idatasci@hku.hk

Executive Assistant (at the rank of Clerk II)

Careers at IDS

Executive Assistant (at the rank of Clerk II)

Position  

Applications are invited for the appointment as an Executive Assistant (at the rank of Clerk II) in the HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science (HKU-IDS) (Job Ref.: 517033), (to commence as soon as possible, on a two-year fixed-term basis with contract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirement benefits scheme, totally up to 10% of basic salary, and with the possibility of renewal).

Qualification  

Applicants should possess a good Bachelor’s degree with at least 3 year’s work experience preferably in tertiary institutions. They should have a good command of written and spoken English and Chinese; accounting knowledge and experience, good interpersonal, communication and organisational skills, computer literacy; with the ability to multitask under pressure and work independently as well as in a team. They should also be detail-oriented and self-motivated with a strong sense of responsibility. Those who are strong in IT knowledge will be highly preferable. Non-degree holders with substantial relevant working experience will also be considered.

The appointee will assist in financial accounting matters, inventory and budgetary control. H/she will provide administrative and clerical support for events and updating of social media platforms about the Institute’s news, daily operations including matters related to human resources, finance and research, secretarial support for faculty members, and perform other duties as assigned. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend a written test and an interview.

A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medical benefits.

Application

The University only accepts online application for the above post. Applicants should apply online and upload an up-to-date C.V. Review of applications will commence as soon as possible and continue until February 28, 2023, or until the post is filled, whichever is earlier. 

Apply Now

The New IDS Premises Welcomes the Three Musketeers – A Moment for Delight and Progress

The New IDS Premises Welcomes the Three Musketeers - A Moment for Delight and Progress!

Official Launch of the IDS Office (30 September 2022)

The new office premises of the HKU Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science at Graduate House, received its first batch of guests – our benefactors from the Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation, Mr Stanley Chu, Dr Lawrence Fung, and Mr Leong Ka-chai, on September 30, 2022.

Furnished with a modern taste for a research space and equipped with a wealth of advanced audio-visual facilities, the three Musketeers toured in delight at the newly renovated IDS office, with the company of Professor Max Shen, Director of the IDS, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), IDS scholars and Steering Committee members. The eventful day was kick-started with Professor Shen’s sharing of the accomplishment of the Institute since its dedication ceremony on January 5, 2021. With the support of the University management and stakeholders, IDS has gone far and continued to grow stronger and bigger. Young researchers recruited under the Data Science Cluster in the HKU-100 Recruitment Campaign, who were also present that day, impressed the three Musketeers with their aspirations of building a world-class data science research profile for IDS at the meeting that day.

Virtual Tour at the IDS Office Now!

Dr Lawrence Fung (right), Professor Max Shen, Director of the IDS (second to the right), Mr Leong Ka-chai and Mr Stanley Chu (second and third to the left), and Professor Reynold Cheng, Associate Director of the IDS (left), officiated the launch of the IDS premises in a delightful manner.

As Professor Shen has stated, the IDS positions itself to be a place for “facilitating cross-disciplinary research” which can then help make HKU one of the most diverse and outstanding hubs for having different people collaborate together. It echoes the well wishes Dr Lawrence Fung has expressed to us at the event, that the three Musketeers “always hope HKU to be the best, and IDS to be the best” as a research institute. The meeting concluded with the three Musketeers leaving us a food for thought, to which the work of IDS shall gear, that artificial intelligence, being as indispensable as it is in aiding decision-making, will not only become “Explainable AI”, but also “Applicable AI” to the greater crowds.

HKU-IDS Scholar Dr Wenjie Huang received the 2022 NSFC Young Scientists Fund!

HKU-IDS Scholar Dr Wenjie Huang received the 2022 NSFC Young Scientists Fund! 黃文傑博士於2022年度中國國家自然科學基金「青年科學基金項目」中獲獎!

HKU-IDS scholar, Dr Wenjie Huang, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, has been awarded the 2022 Young Scientists Fund under the National Natural Science Foundation for his project “Risk-aware accelerated and variance-reduced reinforcement learning with application in portfolio optimization”. This year, HKU has a total of 16 awardees to this fund, covering a number of STEM-related disciplines.  For more information about Dr Huang, please browse: https://datascience.hku.hk/people/wenjie-huang/

NSFC Young Scientists Fund (YSF) renders support to young academics and encourages them to focus on self-chosen area for basic research. It is the first time for the YSF to accept direct applications from academics affiliated with institutions in Hong Kong and Macau. Let’s extend our greatest congratulations to Dr Huang for his achievement!

HKU-IDS Scholar、工業及製造系統工程學系研究助理教授黃文傑博士於2022年度中國國家自然科學基金「青年科學基金項目」中獲獎!是次獲獎項目,名為「加速和方差缩减的风险控制强化学习算法与投资组合优化的应用」。本年度港大共有16位年輕科學家獲選,涵蓋多個理工科技學系。有關黃博士的個人簡歷,請瀏覽以下網站: https://datascience.hku.hk/people/wenjie-huang/

中國國家自然科學基金「青年科學基金項目」旨在支持青年科學家,於自選的研究方向上開展基礎研究工作。這是基金委員會首次接納來自港澳地區學府青年科學家的申請,在此再次恭喜黃博士獲獎! 

HKU-IDS scholar Dr Tao Yu received the Fall 2021 Amazon Research Award!

HKU-IDS scholar Dr Tao Yu received the Fall 2021 Amazon Research Award!

We are pleased to announce that our IDS scholar, Dr Tao Yu, Assistant Professor, HKU-IDS and Department of Computer Science, has been awarded the Fall 2021 Amazon Research Award!

Dr Yu’s award-winning research proposal is titled “Scalable Conversational Structured Knowledge Grounding with a Unified Language Model”, under the fall 2021 AWS AI call for proposals. Dr Yu’s research interests cover Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence. For more information about Dr Yu, please browse: https://datascience.hku.hk/people/tao-yu/

The award accords recognition to outstanding research topics across various disciplines for which the quality of scientific content, creativity, potential to impact both the research community and society, theoretical advances, practical applications, and such were reviewed. Awardees represent more than 30 universities in eight countries this year. Full list of the award recipients can be found here.

Huge congratulations to Dr Yu!