University of Hong Kong Launches Institute of Data Science

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has received HKD150 million in donations to establish a data science institute as part of the HKU InnoTech initiative envisioned to advance cutting-edge research and entrepreneurship.

The donation is understood to come from The Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation, a non-profit charity that has donated to various University initiatives throughout the years.

A premier institute for data science talents

Known as the Musketeers Foundation Institute of Data Science, it will facilitate collaborations with local partners in industry, business, government sectors, and other research institutions where data is collected. The goal is to establish a premier institute to attract and nurture the best talents from across the globe.

The Institute will focus on critical strategic research such as fundamental data science, AI and human-machine interplays, and developing a smart society.

Specifically, it will develop novel methodologies used to analyze large volumes of data to find new patterns and correlations to gain new scientific discoveries in the field of data science. This will be achieved with a core team of data scientists specializing in computer science, mathematics, and statistics to address complex data-driven problems.

With the increasing use of AI-enabled systems to make predictions and decisions that have a profound effect on peoples’ lives and wellbeing, the Institute will also seek to gain a deeper understanding of the reason behind specific AI predictions or decisions. The objective is to be in the position to identify and prevent recurrences of mistakes should they occur in a real-life situation.

Finally, it also aims to integrate existing data science research with the use of digital systems, IoT, and citizen participation to build a healthy and sustainable society ecosystem.

“The Institute will be a world-class data science hub, based in Hong Kong and connected to the University's Shenzhen Campus in the Greater Bay Area. The three areas of Fundamental Data Science, Explainable AI and Human-Machine Interplays, and Smart Society will shape the research focus of the Institute in the coming years,” summed up Professor Max Shen, vice-president and pro-vice-chancellor of research, and director of the Institute.

The Institute says it has already recruited a core team of data scientists to fulfill its mission.

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