People - Decentralized Machine Learning Intelligence

Paul Pang

Professor Pang is the head of Decentralized Machine Learning Intelligence (DMLI) laboratory (, director of centre for Computational Intelligence for Environmental Engineering (CIEE), and director of centre for Computational Intelligence for Cyber-Security (CICS) at Unitec Institute of Technology. Professor Pang has acted as Principle Investigator for over 13 research grant projects, totalling more than NZD$3.5 million in funding by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation, NZ (MBIE), the Ministry for Primary Industries, NZ (MPI), the Health Research Council, NZ (HRC), the Ministry of Science and Technology China, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan (NICT), Telecom New Zealand, and Lucent & Bell Lab USA. His main areas of research are Applied Data Analytics, AI for Cybersecurity and Smart Environment. He published over 130-refereed articles with Google Scholar H-index 17, and his top two cited papers had citation 477 and 289, respectively. He had so far 1 patent and filed 2 patent applications with 1 sold to a NZ company. Professor Pang has received many awards of distinction including IEEE ICNNSP best paper award (2003), IEEE DMAI best paper award (2008), Unitec FCBI Research Excellency Award (2011), Unitec FCBI Research Excellency Award (2012), Unitec FCBI Executive Dean Award (2012), Unitec Award for Meeting the Needs of Communities (2012), Unitec FCBI Research Excellency Award (2014), Unitec Research with Impact Award (2015), and ICONIP-DMC workshop best paper award (2015). Professor Pang is the Event Editor of Neural Network Journal Elsevier since 2014, a Senior Member of IEEE since 2005, a Member of New Zealand Ministry of Education Delegation to Shanghai Expo 2010, a New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) panel Member in 2012. He has served Chair, Co-chair and Committee Member/Track Chair of numerous international conferences, including as a founder Chair of International Cybersecurity Data Mining Competition (, and recently as a global Judge for The 2018 AI summit London (

Consultant Researchers

Jianbei An Mathematician

Dr Jianbei An obtained his PhD in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1991. Then he joint the University of Auckland in 1992 and became an associate professor in 2002. His main research area is the modular representation theory of finite groups, a field in pure mathematics. He has published/accepted 56 research journal papers in refereed international journals and two  conference papers. In all his publications, 17 of the papers have been published in the A* international journals, the top 5% of the mathematical journals in the world (rated by Australia Mathematical Society). He received a New Zealand Mathematical Society Research Award in 1998, and he has been awarded Marsden Fund (five times with M. Conder and E. O`Brien) since 1998. He is a referee for more than 10 international journals and a reviewer for more than  5 international research funds. He has been a deputy editor of New Zealand Journal of Mathematics since 2000.

Ilkka Havukkala Bioinformatician

Over 20 year interdisciplinary R&D experience in biotech/academic research and IT management, RNAi drug development, genomics in silico discovery, systems  biology, non-coding RNA, artificial intelligence, personalized medicine, drug discovery and biotech product development. Extensive experience in IP generation and patenting, including drafting of biotech patent claims in a biotech company and legal experience as senior patent examiner in NZ patent office (IPONZ). Good scientific publication and citation record. Current interest: semantic technologies for bioinformatics and information retrieval and GPU computing. Published a book on biocomputing, semantic computing and GPU computing in 2010.

Qun Song Fuzzy Systems Expert

Dr. Qun Song obtained his Bachelor, Master and PhD degree from China, Japan and New Zealand, respectively. He has worked in Textile Science Research Academy China as a senior engineer, in Tokyo University Japan as a foreign research fellow, and in Auckland University of Technology New Zealand as a senior research fellow and a supervisor of Master and PhD students.  He is now working as a senior research engineer with the SSG Electrical & Electronic Engineering Ltd, Australia.

Aaron Chen Networking Expert

Dr. Aaron Chen obtained his B.Eng degree from Beijing Institute of Technology in China (2000) and PhD degree from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (2006) respectively. From July 2000 to November 2001, he worked as Software Engineer at Founder Electronics Pte. Ltd, Beijing China. From April 2005 to January 2006, he worked as Software Engineer at Crimsonlogic Pte. Ltd, Singapore. From August 2006 to March 2007, he worked as Research Fellow at the Information Communication Institute of Singapore (ICIS), School of EEE at NTU. From April 2007 to June 2010, he worked as lecturer at school of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, NTU. He became a full-time lecturer in the Department of Computing, Unitec Institute of Technology, in July 2010.

Faculty Researchers

Nilufar Baghaei

Dr. Nilufar Baghaei received her BSc (Hons I) and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Canterbury in 2004 and 2008 respectively. She was a member of Network Security research group and Intelligent Computer Tutoring Group (ICTG) from 2003 to 2006. From January 2007 to August 2008, she worked at SunGard Systems Ltd as a Software Engineer, responsible for designing and implementing software applications for financial services. She was with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as a Postdoctoral Fellow from October 2008 to December 2010, investigating the effect of persuasive and personalisation techniques on influencing user behaviour and encouraging sustained participation with diet and lifestyle applications. She joined Unitec as a full-time lecturer in January 2011. Her research interests include Artificial Intelligence in Education, Wireless Security and Human-Computer Interaction.

Simon Dacey

Simon Dacey has worked in software development for 17 years on applications as diverse as a firing control system for anti-submarine warfare and a database application for the management of wetland resources in Indonesia. He obtained his MSc in Applied Remote Sensing from the University of Cranfield, UK (1995). From 1998 to 2002 he worked as a lecturer at UCOL in Palmerston North, North Zealand. Since January 2002, he has been a full-time lecturer at the Department of Computing, Unitec Institute of Technology. His research interests include Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Digital Image Processing, Geographical Positioning Systems, and Database Management Systems.

Xiaosong Li

Dr. Xiaosong Li obtained her B.E (1982) in Automatic Control and M.E (1986) in Digital Image Processing from Harbin Engineering University in China, MSc (1990) in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Chicago in USA and PhD (1999) in Computer Science from University of Auckland in New Zealand. Her research interests include Digital Image Processing, Web Based Collaborative System, Semantic Web, eLearning System and etc. She was Unitec Research Fellow in 2004. She has more than twenty years teaching experience. She joined Unitec in 2002 where she is a Senior Academic Staff Member. She also has worked as a software developer in industry.

Staff Researchers

Chi Yang Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Chi Yang received his Ph.D in computers science from University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia. He received his Master of Science by Research from Swinburne University of Technology (SUT), Australia. He received his Bachelor degree from Shandong University, China. He worked for CSRIO and UTS under the joint project of big data processing on Cloud. Dr. Chi Yang has published high quality research papers in top computer science journals. He also received the best paper award from different international conferences. Currently, he is a postdoc research fellow in the Unitec Institution of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. His research interests include Cloud Computing, Parallel and Distributed systems, Resilient System design, Big Data Curation Techniques, Intelligent Sensing and Complex Network Systems, Privacy and Security for Big Sensing Data, XML Data and Data Streams.

Denis Research Associate/Doctoral Student
Denis Lavrov, Lead Research Assistant/Engineer at the CICS Lab at Unitec Institute of Technology, is responsible for systems engineering for the STRATUS project. He has four years' experience with low-level programming in C/C++ for embedded systems and sizeable knowledge of the networking, programming, hardware technology, and software engineering fields of computing. His current research interests include cloud computing, virtualisation, high availability and resiliency.
Fengqing Li Research Assistant/Doctoral Student
Fengqing Li is a Doctoral student, and research assistant. He has been working as software engineer on embedded systems for more than 10 years. His interested research area is machine learning, image processing, visualization and spatial computing. His doctoral research topic is “Geographic spatial computing for urban environmental big data analytics”.
Jane Zhao Research Assistant

Jane Zhao is a doctoratale student at Unitec's Department of Computing, supervised by Prof. Paul Pang. She is currently completing her doctoral thesis titled “24-Hour Boat-Flow Analysis and Counting in a Specific Harbor Area Based on Computer Vision”.

Tony Shi Technical Support
Tony Shi is a graduate diploma student in Department of Computing at Unitec. He got 10 years industry experience as an IT system engineer in a IT datacenter of Janpanese enterprise. He is interested in network and cloud computing. He also hold Microsoft MCSE and Cisco CCNP certifications.

Student Researchers

Lei Zhu Lead Research Assistant

Lei is a masters student supervised by Dr. Paul Pang and Dr. Aaron Chen at Unitec Institute of Technology. He is working on his masters thesis “Land-cover Change Detection for Environmental Analysis through Incremental Support Vectors Authentication”.

Ruibin Zhang

Ruibin completed his master's studies with Professor Pang in the field of stock performance correlation analysis, and is currently in the last year of his Doctorate of Computing at Unitec Institute of Technology. His doctoral research is in the area of security-related network traffic analysis. Ruibin is currently studying under the guidance of his primary supervisor Professor Pang, and his associate supervisor Professor Sarrafzadeh, Director of High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network at Unitec.

Véronique is a master's student from France completing her end-of-programme internship (equivalent to a master's thesis) at Unitec's Department of Computing, supervised by Dr. Paul Pang. She is currently working on honeypots in the cloud.
Anthony Lai

Anthony received his BEng (Electronics) and MEng from the University of South Australia, Australia in 1996 and 1998 respectively. He was with DiGi Telecommunications as Senior Engineer and semiconductor foundry 1st Silicon (Malaysia) as Equipment Engineer for five years. Since then, he moved on and joined INTI University College as an Electronic Engineer lecturer. He is now working in Electrotechnoloy Department, Unitec as an Engineering lecturer since 2010. Anthony has strong grasp of electrical and electronics engineering principles and techniques. He is also IEEE student member.

Ali Shahid

Shahid obtained his Master in Computer Sciences from the Auckland University of Technology, Auckland in 2006. He got industry experience as an IT Analyst and Business Analyst. He is a part time lecturer in Computer Sciences Department at Unitec. At the same time he is completing his Doctoral thesis entitled, “Spatial and Temporal SVM Aggregation for environmental pollution detection, examination, monitoring and outcome prediction”. He also hold some Microsoft and Cisco certifications i.e. MCP, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, CCDP.

Holmes He Master Student

Holmes is a computer science graduate, and previous employee of Tencent, Inc. - the biggest internet company in China. Through this experience, Holmes gained ample knowledge of large-scale and high-availability server development techniques due to the sheer size of the user population, i.e. hundreds of millions. These technologies are the cornerstones of almost all internet-based businesses e.g. Google, Facebook and Trade Me.In 2014, Holmes undertook a Postgraduate Diploma in Computing at Unitec, which enabled him to sediment, condense and consolidate the massive amounts of previously unorganised knowledge that he gained through his career in the IT industry. As Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Commencement address at Stanford, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward", and Holmes now feels inspired to not only be a student or industry-worker, but also a contributor to the computer science community, working towards making a breakthrough in one or two niche areas.

Alumini Researchers

Lei Song

Keith Allpress

Jack Yang

Bernd Martin

Antonio Yip

Yimin Peng

Ramsey Jiang

Gina Gao

Shane Liu

David Lu

Geoffrey Li