Research Areas

The department has research groups conducting research in seven key areas:


Big Data

The explosive growth of data, which we have been witnessing since the onset of the new century, has greatly reshaped our everyday life. The data being generated at an unprecendented rate present significant challenges in storage, computation, and communication. Our research focuses on the development of new methodologies and systems to meet such challenges. In particular, we are interested in studying the following topics:

  • Machine learning methods for large-scale data analytics and distributed computing environment
  • Optimization techniques under streaming and distributed settings
  • Efficient sketch or summary of large amount of data
  • Scalable algorithms for probabilistic inference

Faculty: Dahua LIN, Cavan LOY, Sean TANG, Pascal O. VONTOBEL


Communications and Information Theory

Our department hosts a world-class research group in Communications and Information Theory and is the birth-place of the field of Network Coding.

This research area covers a wide range of topics in information theory, channel coding theory, switching theory, and performance analysis. Our research deals with the fundamental aspects of information and uses mathematical tools to obtain the limits of data compression, channel coding, network performance, etc. We also design efficient algorithms for related applications.

Faculty: Sidharth JAGGI, Bob LI, Chandra NAIR, Raymond YEUNG, Pascal O. VONTOBEL

Related website:


Cryptography, Security and Privacy

Our general focus is on Applied Cryptography, and Security and Privacy in Cyber Systems. We are interested in devising practical yet provably secure cryptographic schemes for emerging computing paradigms, and for increasingly complex applications involving seemingly conflicting requirements when the participants are mutually untrustful. These include webs, clouds, smart phones, embedded systems, and other distributed computing systems.

On a high level, some recent projects of our group include:

  1. Cloud computing - searchable encryption, attribute-based encryption, proof of storage, outsourced computation, audit and provenance
  2. Privacy-enhancing technologies - accountable privacy, anonymous credentials, electronic payment, reputation and revocation, structure-preserving cryptography
  3. Leakage-resilience - provable security, side-channel information leaks
  4. Embedded system security - firmware analysis, static analysis, dynamic analysis, symbolic execution, lightweight cryptography
  5. Smart grid security - tools and methodology to evaluate the security of smart grid components like smart meters, communication protocols and corresponding software, privacy-preserving smart metering and data aggregation

Faculty: Sherman CHOW, Kehuan ZHANG, Wing-cheong LAU


Multimedia Processing

The explosive growth of multimedia information over the Internet makes it an urgent task to develop intelligent systems for automatic multimedia processing. Our multimedia research focuses on intelligent processing of image, video, and computer graphics. Current research topics range from image retrieval on the internet, face recognition and photo management, video editing and tracking, 3D object reconstruction and retrieval.

Our work on "Intent Search" has been adopted by the image search engine at "" of Microsoft. Our work on "Dark Channel Prior", a novel image prior we discovered, has won the Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2009.

Faculty: Sean TANG, Dahua LIN, Cavan LOY

Related website: Multimedia Laboratory


Networking Theory, Internet and Applications

Our department is especially strong in networking research that covers a broad scope from software used to control network activities to hardware for transporting data over wired and wireless channels. We also do research in incentive mechanisms for networks by applying ideas from game theory and economics.

The research on Internet technologies and applications includes three main areas:

  • Infrastructure-related issues - broadband technologies, next generation Internet protocols, intelligent routing, quality-of service control, broadcasting and multicasting, multimedia streaming, distributed content caching and routing, intelligent content adaptation.
  • Internet applications - on-line social networks, multimedia content distribution and streaming systems (including P2P networking), intelligent bilingual search engines, multiparty video conferencing systems, eLearning systems etc.
  • Network Economics - network service provider competitions, new business models for Internet and wireless networks, new incentive mechanism design such as auction, contract, and bargaining for emerging network services, incentives for social networks.

Faculty: Minghua CHEN, Dah-Ming CHIU, Jianwei HUANG, Wing-cheong LAU, Jack LEE, Tony LEE


Optical Communications

Optical fiber is the dominant medium for long distance high-capacity transmission systems. Our major thrust in lightwave network research is to identify system/ network architectures and the supporting technologies that allow the sharing of the enormous bandwidth available in the optical fiber.

Faculty: Calvin CHAN, Lian-kuan CHEN

Related website: Lightwave Communications Laboratory


Wireless Communications and Networking

Wireless and Networking research in the Faculty of Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) covers a wide range of areas including peer-to-peer systems, cognitive radio systems, cooperative communications, cellular systems, adaptive transmission and reception, diversity combining techniques, multiple input multiple output (MIMO) technologies, spread spectrum methods, RF/microwave engineering and IC design, Low-temperature Co-fired Ceramic technology (LTCC) / antenna design, ultra wideband (UWB) technologies, media access control (MAC) protocols, mobility management and control algorithms, wireless LAN/Mesh, and ad-hoc/ sensor networking and RFID systems.

Faculty: Minghua CHEN, Jianwei HUANG, Wing-cheong LAU, Soung-chang LIEW, Tat-ming LOK, Wing WONG, Peter YUM, Angela ZHANG