14 December 2016

Distinguished Research Excellence Award Keynote by Professor Qiang Yang

On 14 December, BDI Director, New Bright Professor of Engineering, Chair Professor and Head of Department of Computer Science and Engineering Professor Qiang Yang was conferred his Distinguished Research Excellence Award from School of Engineering (SENG). This most prestigious accolade among all others awarded by SENG was presented with a trophy by Professor Tim Cheng, Dean of Engineering, and Professor Wei Shyy, Executive Vice President and Provost of HKUST.

After the award presentation, Professor Yang gave his keynote speech on Artificial Intelligence under Big Data and Small Data, explained the development and rising of big data, data mining, deep learning and transfer learning, its enormous impacts and possibly even greater future application, with vivid examples closely relevant to people’s daily lives. His keynote received overwhelming response with a full house attendance, and triggered heated discussion among the audience and the academia even at the cocktail reception that followed.

“Inaugurated in 2011 by School of Engineering, the excellence awards aim to acknowledge and recognise faculties with significant global impacts and contribution in his area of expertise. This distinguished award is the highest acclaim among all others,” Professor Cheng said at his opening speech before introducing the impressive achievements of this year’s awardee, Professor Yang. “He is the fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), granted after a very rigorous evaluation process to no more than 0.1% of the IEEE voting membership in any given year; and also member of Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). A widely cited scholar, he has a Google Scholar citation of more than 30,000, where many are attributed to his works on transfer learning, data mining and AI Planning. I would like to congratulate Qiang personally and welcome you all to witness this important ceremony.”

“I am glad to join you to celebrate with Professor Qiang Yang,” said Professor Wei Shyy in his opening speech. “The university emphasizes a lot in recognising teaching scholars. Being a teacher and a scholar require very different attributes. Research requires making a difference, being original; whereas teaching targets to enlighten mankind. Professor Yang is one of the very few scholars that excel in both. I respect him especially for his enormous effort put into managing his teaching equally if not more than publishing academic papers.”

Professor Yang is a world leader in transfer learning, an important subfield of machine learning, data mining and big data. Transfer learning solves a long-standing challenge in data mining and machine learning, where it is often difficult to obtain high-quality labeled training data. He was among the first to have designed a series of transfer learning solutions to compute the domain and dataset differences and to extract useful common knowledge to enable knowledge transfer. His solutions made use of instance-based transfer, feature-based transfer, and heterogeneous subspace transfer for transfer learning.