Professor's intelligent computer system wins international award

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2007, 12:00am

An intelligent computer system which will help the Immigration Department automate the processing of more than 100 forms has won an international award.

The system, developed by associate professor Andy Chun Hon-wai, of City University's department of computer science, won the Innovative Applications of AI Award from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence at a ceremony last month in Vancouver.

Immigration officers normally have to manually check the information that is provided on application forms.

Inputting all immigration-related laws and regulations into the system allows it to check applicants' eligibility for documents and certificates automatically and recommend whether or not officers should grant the applications.

The department began using it to process applications for passports in February.

'In the past, it might take a week [to check an applicant's eligibility], but now it only takes around three days,' said Professor Chun.

The system, which has been tailor-made to handle the department's application forms, has been under development since 2005.

'By the end of next year or early 2009, it should be able to process all types of application forms,' Professor Chun said. 'It takes a few years because we have to turn all immigration laws and regulations into assessment rules understandable to computers.' He said the system would soon be able to handle birth, death and marriage registrations.

Professor Chun also designed an intelligent workforce management system for the Equestrian Company to generate daily shift rosters for the more than 1,000 staff and volunteers who will be on duty during this weekend's rehearsal for the Olympic events in the city next year. 'It can help set a roster considering people's expertise and availability for each shift each day in a few seconds, much faster than doing it manually,' he said.