Professor Wong Kam Fai, Associate Dean (External Affairs) of the Faculty of Engineering and Director of the Centre for Innovation and Technology), CUHK has been named Fellow of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) in the class of 2020, in recognition of his significant contributions to social media processing, particularly in Chinese information retrieval, opinion mining, microblog processing and rumour detection.
Established in 2011, the ACL Fellows programme recognises its members whose contributions to the field of computational linguistics have been most extraordinary in terms of scientific and technical excellence, service to the association and the community and/or educational or outreach activities with broad impact.
Professor Wong is among the first researchers to investigate natural language processing (NLP) for microblogs, such as Twitter and Wechat. In today’s social media, the results of this timely research work are influential for future work in social media analysis. As a pioneer in the field, Professor Wong used different discourse integration techniques to identify contextual information in microblog repost trees, and proposed a novel summarisation system by effectively differentiating leader and follower messages on repost trees based on content-level structure information. He also introduced temporal features for microblog processing, especially for rumour detection. In his research paper “Detect Rumours Using Time Series of Social Context Information on Microblogging”, he adopted the change of word and emoji patterns over time for rumour detection. It became an open corpus for rumour detection, which has been widely used by the community, with over 400 citations globally over the past three years. In recent years, his work in rumour detection has been well published in ACL.
Over the years, Professor Wong has always been keen to transfer impactful research to commercial application. He co-founded Wisers Information Ltd in Hong Kong in early 1998 with his student, opening up a whole new era of newspaper digitisation, ahead of giants like Google and Baidu. In addition, he received the Second-class Award in Scientific and Technological Progress from the Ministry of Education, China (2017) based on his applied research and development work on the industrialisation of trilingual-based retrieval and understanding platforms on large scale social media. The system “SAMUL”, a toolkit for sentiment analysis for multi-language application developed by his team has contributed to software development kits for multilingual sentiment analysis, which includes extraction of credibility, content and mood of the message author. SAMUL can read Cantonese, Mandarin and English, and is eligible to be extended to other alphabetic languages. With SAMUL, his team received Silver Medal and Prize of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation- Romania in the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in 2019.