Newsletter No. 198

2 No. 198 4th March 2002 CUHK Newsletter Conferences to Explore Optimal Solutions and an E-Commerce Platform A pp r ox ima t e ly 250 papers by scientists from 30 different regions were presented at the Fifth International Conference on Optimization: Techniques and Applications held from 15th to 17th December 2001 on the campus of CUHK. The function was organized by the Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management jointly with the relevant units from City University of Hong Ko ng and the Hong Ko ng Polytechnic University. The objective of the event was to explore the theories of optimization and their applications in solving increasingly complicated problems in the real world, including natural resource utilization, financial engineering, logistics and supply chain management, and optimal control of complex systems. The conference comprised three mini-symposia and 31 parallel technical sessions and featured plenary lectures by eight internationally renowned scientists in the f i e ld of op t imi za t i on. The conference was supported by the K.C. Wong Education Foundation and the Croucher Foundation. Prof. Kenneth Young, pro-vice-chancellor of CUHK, officiated at the opening ceremony held on 15th December. An industrial forum was also held by the Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management from 7th to 9th January at the Regal Kowloon Hotel jointly with Tsinghua University, the General Ma c h i ne ry I ndus t ry Association of China (GMIA), and a number of GM I A enterprises. The participants proposed the establishment of an e-commerce platform with the support and involvement of GMIA enterprises. General machinery is a traditional industry in China which has contributed significantly to the national economy. However many enterprises in this industry have been encountering difficulties in production planning, marketing, sales, and logistics management for many years. China's accession to the World Trade Organization means that they will also be under great pressure to compete directly w i t h international enterprises. It is imperative that they upgrade their operations and management by applying modern information technologies. The forum was held with an aim to promote collaboration between academia and industry, which may help solve some o f the p r ob l ems f aced by these enterprises. Weight Management Is a Co l l a b o r a t i v e E f f o r t T reating diseases is not only the work of doctors. It involves the efforts of many healthcare professionals from various disciplines as we ll as the cooperation of patients. Obesity is a case in point. Obes i ty can l ead to ch r on ic d i s ab l i ng cond i t i ons but we i ght management is a difficult job. In a pilot programme conducted by the Faculty of Medicine, 60 young obese patients with an average age of 35 were given a six- month treatment wi th an anti-obesity drug. A l l lost weight and showed a major reduction in all risk factors, e s p e c i a l l y b l o od g l u c o se and c h o l e s t e r o l l e v e l s . U p o n t he discontinuation of the drug, half of the patients joined a structured behaviour modification programme. At the end of another six months, patients who underwent the programme maintained t he ir body we i ght wh i le the rest regained the weight they had lost. The results of the study were presented on 20th February in the Postgraduate Education Centre of the Prince of Wales Hospital. Symposium Deals with Hot Topic of Corporate Governance and Disclosure P rominent speakers from Australia, England, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, and Hong Kong shared their views on corporate governance and accounting disclosure in an increasingly globalized world with their audience at the Th i rd Symposium on Corporate Governance and Disclosure, held on 1st and 2nd February in the grand ballroom of Harbour Plaza Hong Kong. The event, which attracted over a hundred delegates, was jointly organized by the Master of Accountancy Programme and the Centre for Accounting Disclosure and Corporate Go v e r n a n ce o f t he S c h o ol o f Accountancy. The aim of the conference was to facilitate a better understanding of the challenging issues in the governance of listed companies and highlight the many hurdles that Hong Kong still needs to overcome before it can realize its aspiration to be the paragon of corporate governance in the region. Two front-line regulators, Mr. Ashley Alder, Executive Director of Corporate Finance at the Securities and Futures Commission, and Ms. Karen Lee, Executive Vice-President f or L i s t i ng Regu l a t i on and R i sk Management at the Hong Ko ng Exchanges and Clearing Limited, made candid presentations of corporate governance in Hong Kong. Ms. Karen Lee (left) receiving a souvenir after her presentation at the symposium Substant ial Economic Loss Caused by Flu A recent study jointly conducted by the School o f Pharmacy, the D e p a r t me n t o f M e d i c i ne and Therapeutics, and the Department of Economics reveals that f l u and flu- like illnesses have adverse effects on the h e a l th and p r o d u c t i v i ty o f workers, resulting in disruption of daily activities and a loss of corporate earnings. The possible economic loss is estimated to be as high as HK $ 1 . 3 b i l l i on each year. Entitled 'A Study on the Health and Productivity Impacts of Flu and Flu-like Illnesses', the project was conducted in May 2001 in collaboration with a sizeable company in Hong Kong. It was the first local study on the incidence and effects of flu among the working population and the cost implications for business. Over 2,000 employees from the company were surveyed. The aim of the study is to assess the impact of the illnesses on the well-being o f the wo r k i ng population and the economy as a whole so that proper measures can be taken to alert the public to the socio-economic cost of flu. YaleClubMemberDonates Books to New Asia M r. William Stork (middle), former president and a current vice- president of the Yale Club of Hong Kong, donated 32 books to New Asia College in celebration of Yale's 300th anniversary in 2001. They were a collection of books written in English by Asian and Asian- American authors. The book presentation ma r k i ng the partnership and long established friendship between Yale and New Asia took place on 12th January at the Ch'ien Mu Library. Dr. Colin Storey ( l e f t ) . University Librarian, and Prof. Leung Ping Chung (right), head of New Asia College, gave toasts at the ceremony to welcome the guests and express their gratitude for the donation. Also attending the reception we re Ms. Ju l ia T r ave r s, ac t i ng representative o f the Ya l e -Ch i na Association (Hong Kong Office), Prof. Ho Puay Peng, dean of students of New Asia College, Dr. Peter Man, college secretary, Ms. Teresa To, librarian of Ch ' i en Mu L i b r a r y, Yale Eng l i sh language instructors, and members of the Yale Club. New Regional Pharmacy Association Headed by CUHK Member Prof. Moses Chow ( l e f t ) and Prof. Sumon Sakolchai P rof. Moses Chow, director of the School of Pharmacy, has been elected as the first president of the Asian Association of Schools of Pharmacy (AASP). The association was established last year at the First Asian Pharmacy Educators Meeting held in Pattaya, Thailand. Participating in the meeting were 101 deans and educators of 53 pharmacy education institutions from 15 Asian countries. The main objective of AASP is to promote collaboration in the advancement of pharmacy education and research among member schools, to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of ideas and information of pharmacy education, research, and professional practice, and to establish liaison wi th other health professionals, governmental and other agenc i es t hat may l ead to the development, support, and improvement of pharmaceutical education, research, and practice. Prof. Chow hopes to set a new direction for Asian pharmacy education and research so that AASP can play an important role not only in the Asian but the international pharmacy scene. Prof. Sumon Sakolchai, Secretary- General of AASP and dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Khon Kaen Un i ve r s i t y, Tha i l and, v i s i t ed the University on 24th January to acquaint h imse lf w i t h the CUHK School o f Pharmacy and to give a seminar on 'Pharmacy Education in Thailand'. He also discussed exchange programmes and items on the AASP agenda with Prof. Chow.