HKUST(GZ) Wins Bid to Host World’s Top Database Conference

2021-09-03

The 47th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB 2021) announced that the team led by Prof. CHEN Lei, Acting Head of Data Science and Analytics Thrust at HKUST(GZ) and Chair Professor at HKUST Department of Computer Science and Engineering, had won the bid to host VLDB 2024 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) (HKUST(GZ)) in the Nansha district of Guangzhou. This would mark the second time for a Mainland Chinese city to host the event, following its 2014 edition in Hangzhou. 

VLDB is recognized as one of the top three international conferences among the database community. First convened in 1975 in the United States, the conference aims at facilitating research and exchanges of database technologies around the globe. Since then, every edition of VLDB conference has brought together thousands of experts, scholars, and industry leaders from all over the world. Papers presented at the conference have introduced game-changing and innovative ideas that have made substantial contributions to the field. 

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of VLDB. Winning against University College London in the running to host VLDB 2024, HKUST(GZ), represented by Prof. Chen and his team, has proven its academic strength and efforts put into thorough preparation, and, most importantly, its standing in the field of data science. 

An IEEE Fellow and ACM Distinguished Scientist, Prof. Chen is a world-leading expert in the field of database who currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the VLDB Journal, co-Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE), and Secretary of Executive for the VLDB Endowment. He received the ACM SIGMOD Test of Time Award in 2015 and the VLDB Excellent Demo Award in 2014. Prof. YI Ke, a member of Prof. Chen’s database research team at HKUST, carried off two ACM SIGMOD awards in 2015 and 2016. 

Prof. Chen Lei, Acting Head of Data Science and Analytics Thrust at HKUST(GZ) and Chair Professor at HKUST Department of Computer Science and Engineering 

As Prof. Chen put it, winning the bid is of great significance to HKUST(GZ). Believing in the timeless proverb “Knowledge is Power”, he said, “In this digital era, we acquire knowledge from data and databases are the cornerstone of the entire information world. HKUST(GZ) will build on past successes and make VLDB 2024 a high-standard channel for disseminating research outcomes and advances in database management, covering all issues at the cutting edge of database and information system research, so that database and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, vendors, practitioners, application developers, and users will have an open, fair, inclusive, and innovative international platform for exploring and exchanging views on big data research and cooperation.” 

Speaking of HKUST(GZ)’s  academic approach, Prof. Chen said the focus of the University was to inspire curiosity-driven exploration of knowledge and support mission-encouraged research. Well placed in the integrative and innovative ecosystem of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, HKUST(GZ) will leverage the strengths of HKUST and its unique positioning in the world and focus on the trending issues, areas of interest, and pain points facing the database community, pushing the frontiers of database research and knowledge. With these goals in mind, HKUST(GZ) will revitalize the VLDB conference that has run for more than four decades, drawing more participants and fostering industry collaboration and technological innovation, and thus advancing the development of the database field for the world. 

Prof. Chen noted that VLDB 2024 would be the first-ever top-notch international academic conference to be hosted by HKUST(GZ). He said, “We will show to the world the commitment of HKUST(GZ) and the Greater Bay Area to walking on the right path, pursuing truth, and capitalizing on local strengths while having a global vision. Hosting the VLDB conference will present HKUST(GZ) an opportunity to showcase to the  world what underpins its unique talent pool – high-end novel resources, complementary economic base and industrial chains, leading national policy incentives, and housing support.” 

Prof. Chen (first from left) at VLDB 2014 held in Hangzhou 

“We are convinced that HKUST(GZ)’s global vision and capacity to engage with the world, along with the Greater Bay Area’s strengths, will draw more international talents in the industry to this new campus in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, so that it will play its due role in cultivating innovative talents for the country and creating the first database talent pool in the Asia-Pacific region that appeals to international stakeholders,” added Prof. Chen. 

Today, the burgeoning field of data science and analytics has shown an increasing emphasis on cross-disciplinary integration, branching out to knowledge and skills integral to other fields such as computer science, statistics, and mathematics. In supporting cross-disciplinary education and research, HKUST(GZ) has adopted a unique Hub structure that cuts across conventional disciplinary boundaries. 

Prof. Chen leads the Data Science and Analytics Thrust under the Information Hub. Building on HKUST’s expertise in big data and data science, the Thrust advances data science and analytics by unifying statistics, machine learning, optimization, and their related techniques. Devoted to the areas of Data-driven AI & ML, AI-driven Data Science & Analytics, Data visualization and Infographics, the Thrust will expand the applications of data science and analytics, creating end-to-end solutions that will solve real-world problems and benefit society. 

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