Convocation Newsletter, Spring 2019

16 Access for HK Astronomers The HKU Laboratory for Space Research (LSR) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity (BISME). The MoU is significant, as it grants access rights for the first time for all Hong Kong astronomers to all ground-based Mainland facilities, as well as those available via international agreements. BISME is responsible for manufacturing the NJU-HKU No.1 satellite, due for launch as early as October 2019. The LSR negotiated the agreement on behalf of the entire Hong Kong astronomical community, which includes about 60 active astronomy researchers, including about 25 at HKU. Hong Kong-based astronomers can now apply for time on any telescope that China has access to, similar to counterparts at Mainland universities. A HKU delegation to Beijing and Shanghai was led by Professor Quentin Parker, Director of the LSR, in March 2019. It has opened an avenue for collaboration with the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC), and HKU was invited to become a member of the NAOC- led Chinese participation in the international Thirty Meter Telescope project. A MoU was also signed with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technologies (SAST). AI Robots Save Lives Fighting fires, rescuing disaster victims, caring for the elderly, and diagnosing medical problems: These are some of the life-saving tasks that could be aided by robots powered by artificial intelligence (AI). In March 2019, HKU and Tohoku University in Japan (Tohokudai) announced a partnership that will transform and upgrade AI and robotics technology, drawing on the two universities’ outstanding research and academic achievements. The strategic collaboration will open up cutting-edge technologies for the transformation of automation in the manufacturing industry and other applications for mega-cities. A Centre will be established with the theme Transformative AI / Robotics Technologies (TransART). The team aims to develop smart and flexible robots with self-learning ability, which are adaptable to different environments and materials. Tohokudai, one of the top universities in Japan for robotics programmes, is recognised for cutting-edge applications such as human-friendly robots. SPRING 2019