Bioinformatics integrates knowledge from computer science, biomedical science, and mathematical statistics to study and model biological data. It has high impacts to our health, life, and society. Tools and models from this area greatly advance the understanding of life. Many projects, such as Human Genome Project, Human Brain Project, and precision medicine plans rely on the tools from bioinformatics, and many startup companies are fostered from bioinformatics.
Our department has an active bioinformatics research programme, and we study quite a number of interesting problems. For instance, motif discovery helps us distinguish real signal subsequence patterns from background sequences. Multiple sequence alignment studies the similarity between a set of biological sequences. Protein structure prediction predicts the 3D tertiary structure from an amino acid sequence. Gene network inference is a statistical method for inferring gene networks from microarray or RNAseq data. Promoter prediction annotates the promoter regions in a genome. Phylogenetic tree inference studies the evolution relationship among species. Drug scheduling can help solve the clinical scheduling problems effectively.
The department has a group of researchers in distributed systems and computer networks, with interests in a variety of research topics in this area, including distributed computing, parallel computing, mobile computing, fault tolerance in distributed systems, computer networks, wireless sensor networks, wireless mesh networks, mobile ad hoc networks, Internet technologies, and web-based information systems.
Our major research focus is to combine ideas and techniques from evolutionary computation, traditional mathematical programming, and machine learning for designing efficient metaheuristic algorithms for dealing with hard search and optimization problems in fields ranging from engineering design to e-commence and management planning. The metaheuristic optimization group has an excellent research track record. The multi-objective evolutionary optimization algorithms based on decomposition (MOEA/D) developed by us have become one of the most widely used algorithmic frameworks in our area.
The increasing interconnection of computing resources across the entire world has exposed both information and process to potential attacks. Information security is an enabling technology for e-commerce. Indeed many kinds of remote transactions are only feasible if security requirements can be satisfied. At the Department of Computer Science, our view is that not only communication has to be secure, networks and servers also need to be protected from malicious intrusion while allowing legitimate access. Systematic methods also need to be applied to assess the security risk in organizations.
Cryptographic techniques have been applied to achieve confidentiality and integrity of data. In addition it is also applied to effect required and desirable properties of many interesting systems implemented over open networks such as the Internet. Examples range from payment systems, electronic cash, voting systems, to auctioning systems. Security and cryptographic protocols have significant applications in the information age.
Some of the current research work includes:
Advances in mobile communication and the proliferation of mobile computing devices have ushered in a new era for mobile applications. We can foresee that users, no matter where they are located, would expect to be able to generate requests and transactions to access different information, such as stock data, weather forecast, traffic information and other news, using mobile devices or wearable computers through a wireless LAN or a radio cellular network. Moreover, with the rapid increase in bandwidth available for wireless networks, supporting multimedia applications will soon be the norm rather than the exception.
Many mobile computing applications have real-time properties. The values of real-time data items are highly dynamic and the transactions are always associated with different degrees of timing constraints. To support new mobile real-time database applications in an efficient and effective way, the advancing technologies in two different areas, mobile computing and real-time database systems, have to be explored and integrated. The objective of the mobile real-time computing research in the Department is to investigate and develop new techniques for the future mobile real-time database systems. The focus is on both theoretical and practical sides of the technologies.
Our department has established strong track records in the development of theory and algorithms for pattern recognition, image analysis and computer graphics. Projects in this area have included: symmetric axes detection for complex image patterns, character and speech recognition, image segmentation using deformable models regularization and automatic image / video retrieval by content. In computer graphics we have developed graphical modeling techniques for facial and hand gestures animation as well as computer synthesis of Chinese calligraphy. Several multimedia projects are being conducted on multimedia document management and workflow systems for the garment and textile industry and in interactive multimedia learning.
Software Engineering (SE) is one of the key research and teaching areas within our department. The Software Engineering Research Group (SERG) focuses on fundamental and applied research in state-of-the-art software engineering methodologies and techniques, with a strong emphasis on practical training and skill transfer. Our research projects have included topics such as software methodologies, object-oriented methodologies, structured/object-oriented design, software testing, software quality control, software project management, agile processes, software engineering education, etc. SERG members have been very active in applying advanced SE concepts to various applied R&D software projects in Hong Kong. In addition, Software Engineering is one of four study streams within the BSc Computer science progrqammeand is supported by the department's Software Engineering Subject Group (SESG) that is responsible for the teaching of SE courses.
Theoretical computer science at City University has strength in cryptography, program checking, computational complexity, computational finance, computational geometry, computational biology, combinatorial optimization, Steiner problems, online computing and aims to develop strong interdisciplinary research connected to data and communication security, software reliability, real computation, molecular biology, geographical information systems, data mining, management sciences, and computational finance. The Theory Group publishes regularly in top international journals such as SIAM Journals & Journal of ACM.