Day 9, Thursday the 17th, we were back in the classroom again but with a 10am start to let the students get a bit of rest after the night out. We had a busy afternoon planned with a visit to the Hong Kong science park so we focused on issues in networking such as Software Defined Networking, network management and then did the tutorial in class as a group discussion activity. (I love having the flexibility to move things around in the classroom like this!) On completing that, I assigned the students some work to be done before the next day, which was going through 5 of the podcasts in the next section and doing the quiz before they showed up. However, as we will see, I adjusted that because of the afternoon activities!
The local Office of Academic Links has been a great help in setting up visits and they had also arranged a visit to the Science Park to look at what was being done by their amazing body and we also had an arranged visit to Huawei’s Noah’s Ark Lab. Our host from the OAL was Daniel Chan, who wrangled us with great expertise and also assisted us in correctly observing local customs for visits – thanks a million, Daniel!
At the Science Park we attended a briefing on the Science Park’s role, in conjunction with a number of universities including CUHK, to provide support to the R&D infrastructure in Hong Kong, led off by a great talk by local entrepreneur Kenneth Chau, a graduate of the Science Park’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. Hong Kong is hungry for innovation and it was never clearer than when the local manager outlined their program for innovation support, which included giving opportunities to foreign nationals as well as locals, as it would be of local benefit in driving industry and innovation. The idea of being able to apply for a program which gives you free space, access to investors and mentors, and it being this well supported was excellent (and a little surprising from our current climate) to see.
We then went for a tour of Green 18, the Science Park’s green building, where a lot of technologies have been developed and tested that will be used in the next phase of the Science Park’s development. We were able to get up on top of the building and get some great views of Hong Kong, as well as appreciating its energy efficiency!
Here’s a panorama that shows you the view from the top.
There’s some amazing stuff on the campus. Here is one of the most distinctive lecture halls that I think I’ve ever seen.
We were then very lucky to be able to visit Huawei’s Noah’s Ark Lab. Huawei are a very serious player in the world of networking and they have a great deal of interest in how they can use software defined networking for a wide range of reasons, fortunately I had covered this in a lecture today! Their big data analytics are also very advanced and there’s a lot of cross over with what we’re doing in student analytics – but not at the same scale. Professor Qiang Yang hosted us and he and his team shared a lot of good project progress with us. From a teaching standpoint, this is great, because I can talk about things in the classroom but visits like this bring it to life!
At the end of the day, I reviewed things with the students and, after two social events and a really busy week (teaching wise), I adjusted the schedule. I dropped the amount of work required for the next day and moved the short answer exam from Friday to Monday. With assignments due, two very complex conceptual areas, and everything else, I was worried that the students would be plodding through rather than actually enjoying and getting the most out of the trip.
Work delayed, after all, is still work but rearranging it gave my students a little more time to make up for all of the other interesting things we were doing.
Overall, a great day, and thank you so much to everyone involved – we really got a lot out of it.