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Professor Victor On Kwok Li

Interdisciplinary Quick Talks: Open Data Open Possibilities

Professor Victor On Kwok Li

Professor Victor On Kwok Li
Chair of Information Engineering and Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Sustainable Development
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

AI and Big Data to Advance Well-being and Society


The University of Hong Kong, under the HKU-Cambridge AI to Advance Well-being and Society Research Platform, led by Professor Victor O.K. Li and Dr Jacqueline C.K. Lam, has been performing research on AI technologies and its application to pressing societal problems, especially those problems related to environment and health. In this talk, we discuss one of our recent research results, in which we apply AI and big data technologies to answer the following question: Are the socially deprived exposed to a higher level of PM2.5 pollution in HK? Our study develops an AI and big data model, utilizing ubiquitous urban dynamics closely related with air pollution, including ambient pollutants concentration, traffic, meteorology and urban morphology to provide a fine-grained estimation of air pollution in HK. We investigate if there is any differential distribution in PM2.5 pollution across people residing in constituency areas (CAs) of different levels of social deprivation (SD). We conclude there is a statistically significant, positive relationship between ambient PM2.5 concentration and SDI in HK, based on the SDI and mean PM2.5 exposure values derived from 412 Constituency Areas (R2 = 1.4%, p-value < 0.01, based on ordinary least squares). Areas exposed to high air pollution and high social deprivation can be found in Yuen Long, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po and Wong Tai Sin. Our study provides the basis for evidence-based environmental decision-making in Hong Kong, aiming to improve the quality of life of the socially deprived citizens. Our work has been reported by 30+ local and overseas newspapers and media.


Victor O.K. Li received SB, SM, EE and ScD degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Professor Li is Chair of Information Engineering and Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Sustainable Development at the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE) at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He is the Director of the HKU-Cambridge Clean Energy and Environment Research Platform, and of the HKU-Cambridge AI to Advance Well-being and Society Research Platform, which are interdisciplinary collaborations with Cambridge University. He was the Head of EEE, Assoc. Dean (Research) of Engineering and Managing Director of Versitech Ltd., the technology transfer and commercial arm of HKU. He serves on the board of Sunevision Holdings Ltd., listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. He co-founded and serves as Chairman of the Board of Fano Labs Ltd., an artificial intelligence (AI) company specializing in natural language processing. Previously, he was Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California, USA, and Director of the USC Communication Sciences Institute. His research interests include big data, AI, optimization techniques, and interdisciplinary clean energy and environment studies. In Jan 2018, he was awarded a USD 6.4M RGC Theme-based Research Project to develop deep learning techniques for personalized and smart air pollution monitoring and health management. Sought by government, industry, and academic organizations, he has lectured and consulted extensively internationally. He has received numerous awards, including the PRC Ministry of Education Changjiang Chair Professorship at Tsinghua University, the UK Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Visiting Fellowship in Communications, the Croucher Foundation Senior Research Fellowship, and the Order of the Bronze Bauhinia Star, Government of the HKSAR. He is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences, the IEEE, the IAE, and the HKIE.

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