The Hong Kong-Helsinki Oasis for Innovation and Technology (H2O Centre) will focus on AI for smart and sustainable cities by leveraging two unique strengths of Finland - AI and mobile communications.

Through the exchange of ideas in a multicultural, multidisciplinary fashion, H2O will facilitate the establishment of technology-related government policies, develop the spirit of innovation in Hong Kong and Finland alike, and act a hub for entrepreneurship. Below you will find contact information and detailed profiles of our team members for both the Hong Kong and Helsinki operations.

  • Pro­ject Leader and Director Professor Pan Hui

  • Associate Director Professor Sasu Tarkoma

Professor Pan Hui

Professor Pan Hui is the Nokia Chair Professor in Data Science and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. He is also the Director of HKUST-DT Systems and Media Lab at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is an IEEE Fellow, an ACM Distinguished Scientist, and a member of the IEEE Computer Society Fellow Evaluation Committee 2018. He received his PhD from the Computer Laboratory at University of Cambridge, and both his Bachelor and MPhil degrees from the University of Hong Kong. He was a senior research scientist and then a Distinguished Scientist for Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-labs) Germany and an adjunct Professor of social computing and networking at Aalto University Finland.  His industrial profile also includes his research at Intel Research Cambridge and Thomson Research Paris. His research has been generously sponsored by Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, Microsoft Research, and China Mobile. He has published 250 research papers and with over 15,000 citations. He has 24 granted and 6 pending European and US patents in the areas of augmented reality, data science, and mobile computing.

As the director of the HKUST-DT System and Media Lab, he has excellent knowledge of the Hong Kong innovation landscape and has strong connections to the local academia and industries. Besides Hong Kong, Professor Hui has a solid international career, spent between the UK (University of Cambridge, Intel Research), France (Thompson Research), Germany (Berlin University of Technology, Deutsch Telekom Laboratories), and Finland (University of Helsinki and Aalto University).

He has founded and chaired numerous IEEE/ACM conferences/workshops, and has been serving on the organising and technical program committee of numerous top international conferences including ACM SIGCOMM, MobiSys, IEEE Infocom, IEEE ICNP, IJCAI, AAAI, and WWW.  He is an associate editor for the leading journals IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing and IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing. In recent years, Professor Pan Hui has been particularly active in the fields of Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things, as well as developing a strong expertise in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, which are at the core of making Hong Kong the first fully integrated Augmented Reality city. He also has a solid background in the technologies at work behind FinTech, and extensively researched cyber-insurances, as well as the usage of Blockchain technologies as an incentive for distributed computing.

Professor Sasu Tarkoma

Professor Sasu Tarkoma is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, and Head of the Department of Computer Science. He directs the Nokia Center for Advanced Research (NCAR) and the Helsinki Center for Data Science (HiDATA). He has managed and participated in national and international research projects at the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT). He has authored 4 textbooks and has published over 200 scientific articles. He has 8 granted patents and over 25 patent applications. His research interests are data science, Internet technology, distributed systems, data analytics, and mobile and ubiquitous computing.  He has seven granted US Patents. His research has received several Best Paper awards and mentions, for example at IEEE PerCom, ACM CCR, and ACM OSR. He was in the IT industry as a consultant and chief system architect as well as the principal researcher and laboratory expert at Nokia Research Center. He is a senior member of IEEE. He is currently at the head of the MegaSense project, which aims at deploying a wide array of air-monitoring stations and employing the data within prediction models.

He has been granted over 40 research grants including 9 Academy of Finland grants totalling over 16 MEUR. He was the Academic Coordinator of the 50 MEUR Internet of Things research program in Finland 2011-2016. He has established a number of research labs, including the Nokia Center for Advanced Research (NCAR), Intel ICRI-SC on Mobile Computing at Helsinki (Co-PI), and Kumpula Campus 5G Network. He received a special appreciation from Intel in 2017: “in recognition for impactful collaboration to Intel Labs Collaborative Research Institute for Secure Computing”. He has also received the “Promoter of Corporate Collaboration of 2016” award by the University of Helsinki due to the significant and impactful external research funding to the university. He is directing the Helsinki Center for Data Science (HiDATA) with 8 new professor positions.

He has led the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki since 2016. During his leadership the Department has increased the number of professors from 16 to 29 and the external funding has increased each year (over 8 MEUR in 2018). He has supervised over 120 M.Sc. theses and 10 PhD theses. Professor Tarkoma has a large research group with 30+ members.

His major achievements include the Carat energy profiler project that was joint with UCB. Carat is a mobile service that optimises and diagnoses smartphone batteries with over 850 000 users globally. The Carat project has received many awards including the prestigious Mark Weiser Best Paper award at IEEE Percom 2015. Professor Tarkoma has previously pioneered publish-subscribe systems and he lead the architecture work for the clean-slate publish/subscribe PSIRP project that was among the first Information Centric Networking (ICN) projects. More recently, he is leading the MegaSense research program that designs and deploys a new system for scalable and low-cost air quality sensing supported by 5G and AI. This project is one of the potential concrete applications H2O could investigate for integration within t he AR city. The MegaSense program has obtained over 5 MEUR funding for the consortium during its first year of operation. The MegaSense system has been demonstrated with China Mobile and Nokia Shanghai Bell at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2018, MWC Shanghai 2018, and Shanghai Import-Export Fair in Shanghai 2018 as well as ACM MobiCom 2018.

Professor James Kwok

Professor James Kwok is a Full Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has published over 180 scientific articles. Prof. Kwok was an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, and is currently serving as Associate Editor for the Neurocomputing journal and the International Journal of Data Science and Analytics. He is a Governing Board Member of the Asia Pacific Neural Network Society. His research interests include machine learning, deep learning, kernel methods, and artificial intelligence, and its applications. He has authored/coauthored more than 180 technical articles, and published eight edited books. His research received the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks Outstanding 2004 Paper Award (awarded by the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society), the Second Class Award in Natural Sciences by the Ministry of Education, People's Republic of China (awarded by the Ministry of Education, China), and the Certificate of Merit, Best Innovation Award, Hong Kong ICT Awards (awarded by the The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers). He is an IEEE Fellow.

Prof. Kwok is the PI for a number of grants from the Hong Kong Government and industries (including DiDi, Webank and Microsoft Research Asia) totalling HK$10M. He was also Co-PI / Co-I for various projects totalling over HK$15M.

Administrative support

University of Helsinki will appoint an administrative operating from Helsinki in support to H2O. The current team is composed of Maria Linkoaho-Nordling, project coordinator at University of Helsinki, Pasi Rautiainen, University cooperation expert, Kari Sinivuori, technology transfer, Perttu Pohjola legal advice, Jan Myller, company contacts and fundraising, and Huber Flores, AI and Data Science coordinator.

Name Position

Maria Linkoaho-Nordling

Project Coordinator

Pasi Rautiainen

University Cooperation Expert

Kari Sinivuori

Technology Transfer

Perttu Pohjola

Legal Advise

Jan Myller

Company Contacts and Fundraising

Huber Flores

AI and Data Science Coordinator