Innovations attract
global attention
Research initiatives at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have been gaining international attention.
Video compression technology developed by researchers has been adopted as a new international MPEG-4 standard for multimedia applications ranging from video cameras and videophones to website development tools.
A computer-aided optimisation system has been devised for the design of tall buildings with the system cutting design time and construction costs, as well as maximising the usable floor area of buildings.
Elsewhere at the university, a vaccine has been developed to combat foot-and-mouth disease in pigs, and economics research at the university has been ranked foremost in Asia by the academic journal, Economic Enquiry.
In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, researchers have designed a Windows-based database of lexical items from Sino-Tibetan languages.
Research funding at the university totalled HK$280 million in the last fiscal year with just over half coming from the Research Grants Council and the University Grants Committee combined.
Wind and wave tunnel begins study projects
A test being set up at the wind/wave tunnel
at The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
A schedule of research projects has been lined up for Hong Kong’s first wind and wave tunnel that was inaugurated earlier this year at
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Among projects are investigations into how tall buildings can create additional wind loads by being close together, and to what extent winds disperse pollution, both studies being highly relevant to Hong Kong’s environment.
The first wind-wave experiments are likely to concern factors involved in the safeguarding of coastal environments as well as port facilities.
The pollution dispersion research is part of an environmental impact study with the first project lasting about six weeks.
Project leader, Dr S C Kot of the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering said that by using annual wind statistics recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory, it will be possible to determine the impact of any major air polluting source in the area, an important consideration at the design stage. The tunnel, he said, will also be essential for research into new wind resistant buildings, and the better ventilation of high-rise urban areas.
Before the wind-wave tunnel was completed at the university, similar tests needed to be conducted overseas.
Funding for the tunnel came from the RGC which contributed HK$21.52 million through a variety of grants. Another HK$10 million was donated by China Light & Power (Hong Kong) Ltd, and HK$7 million came from donations to the university.
On-going research into how closely positioned tall buildings can aggrevate the effects on strong winds will benefit Hong Kong as well as other major cities around the world. An effect, known scientifically as wind “interference excitation,” occurs when buildings located close to each other disturb wind flows so that they create additional wind loads on each other. Testing conditions simulate monsoon to severe typhoon winds. “Some large increases in wind load are being observed,” said Prof K Kwok, director of the facility.

Wind/wave tunnel director
Professor Kenny Kwok
Department of Civil Engineering. Email: