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17 Jun 2019

HKU partners with TCL to set up “HKU-TCL Joint Research Centre for AI”: Fostering research development in Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Caption: MoU Signing of “HKU-TCL Joint Research Centre for AI” with Dr Tomson Li (Chairman and CEO of TCL), Dr Xiaolin Yan (Chief Technology Officer and President of Corporate Research of TCL), Professor Andy Hor (HKU Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)), Professor Matthew Evans (Dean of HKU Science), Professor Billy Chow (Associate Dean of HKU Science (Development and External Relations)), Professor Yuguo Li (Associate Dean of HKU Engineering (Research)) and Professor Tak Wah Lam (Head of HKU Department of Computer Science).


    In this digital era, artificial intelligence (AI) re-positions and re-writes the meaning of digital hardware, creating infinite possibilities to shape human life. HKU Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering received HK$30 million from TCL Corporation (TCL), which will be used to support artificial intelligence research undertaken at the “HKU-TCL Joint Research Centre for AI” for five years. HKU Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Andy Hor and TCL CTO and President of TCL Research Dr Xiaolin Yan represented the two institutions at the signing ceremony for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on June 14.


    This collaboration aims to synergise top-notched research and strength of enterprise, foster mutual exchange and translate research knowledge to creative and pioneering applications. Detailed terms of collaboration are under discussion, yet both parties agree to work on research areas of artificial intelligence based on the aforementioned framework. This agreement echoes TCL’s mission to transform creativity into cutting-edge technology, it also demonstrates the determination of HKU to enhance its competitiveness in the global realm of research.


    Professor Andy Hor, HKU Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), believed that the collaboration can consolidate the leading position of HKU. “As the development of artificial intelligence is becoming a global trend, we are very pleased to have a partner who shares the same vision as us. Together, we will grasp every opportunity to explore the research and application aspects of artificial intelligence and in-depth learning, with a view to maintaining our leading position in Asia, as well as our competitiveness in the academic spectrum across the globe,” said Professor Hor.


    Professor Matthew Evans, Dean of HKU Science, expressed his gratitude of the unfailing support of TCL to HKU in the past two years. “TCL has been supporting our Faculty in research projects and training of talents and experts since 2017, promoting research excellence and creating research atmosphere. We are grateful to welcome another collaboration with them and HKU Faculty of Engineering, to join hands and foster research on AI and create a win-win outcome for three parties.”


    Professor Yuguo Li, Associate Dean of HKU Engineering (Research), is also pleased to see the opportunities that this collaboration brings along. "We hope this innovative research centre can inject new power and novel thinking, turn creative ideas into wisdom, and pave avenue for more opportunities for artificial intelligence research in the future," said Professor Li.


    Dr Tomson Li, Chairman and CEO of TCL, shows eminent support to this collaboration. “It will help us sharpen our technical competitiveness in semiconductor display and consumer electronics, further our innovation in artificial intelligence and grooming of talents; establishing this joint research centre with HKU is indeed a paramount component of TCL’s strategies in artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT), which fosters the technological transformation and product upgrading in TCL, creating a brand new industry ecology,” stated Dr Li.


    Dr Xiaolin Yan, Chief Technology Officer and President of Corporate Research of TCL, is very positive to this collaboration. “TCL always holds the visions of respecting technology and emphasising basic research; in recent years there is consistent increase of investment in technological research and development, a joint laboratory in new display materials ‘HKU-TCL joint laboratory for New Printable OLED Materials and Technology’ has been set up with HKU last year, and this joint research centre will be a milestone of more intense collaboration with HKU, demonstrating a new mode of industry-academic collaboration, also providing a secured platform for knowledge transfer of scientific research.”


    Dr Dahai Yu, General Manager of AI Institute, TCL Corporate Research HK, echoed that “such collaboration is a remarkable one for Hong Kong-Greater Bay Area technological collaboration in artificial intelligence. We hope, through this collaboration, to scale higher with HKU in a wide range of aspects such as basic scientific research, application innovation and talent grooming; we believe there will be plentiful of collaboration with HKU in the future, facilitating the strategic development in artificial intelligence of TCL.”