Venturing into Data Science

After seven years of academy life at UTAR, I decided to move on to the data science industry to explore the opportunity in big data transformation.

It is a hard but necessary move to me. I will leave the full story to offline face to face discussion if our frequency and space-time are right.

Here are my observation after six months working in data science industry. Majority of Malaysia industries are business-driven entities — business comes first and research be the second (or last). Usually, R&D or r&D departments are hardly survive in the evolution (a.k.a company restructure / reorganization) considering the output are always less convincing in the board meeting. One of the common practice is to embedded the R element as part of the product development such that some tangible output are there.

Another interesting thing is, the term research varies a lot in industry. It can refer to operational research, product research, applied research, etc. Definitely it is not the research that allows you to sit down to for the whole month just to derive an elegant but less useful equation to them.

After all, I am the  latter type of person. I guess it gonna takes another few months before my boss realizes that I am working on a niche research topic instead of building the requested machine learning model.



Hire Research Assistant

We are looking for ONE candidate that is

  • Good in programming, mathematics, microcontroller system, and principle of network communication.
  • Good command of English
  • Discipline and independent

to work with us to improves the performance of Internet-of-Things (IoT) with locally decodable code. The successful candidate will be paid with RM 2,500 for 12 months and renewable to another year (1+1 policy). He/She is expected to register for Master of Engineering Science in Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering Science (LKC FES) and complete the study in 24 months.

Knowledge in network communication and coding theory are preferable, but not a must. The successful candidate must register for Master of Engineering Science in Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering Science (LKC FES).


We consider a mobile wireless sensor network (MWSN) that consists of thousands of static sensor nodes with one or multiple mobile sinks (mobile base stations). Such dynamic network is commonly found in the IoT applications such as users with wireless wearable devices walking on streets or shopping at outlets – the wearable devices acting as the mobile sinks that continuously fetching the environment sensory data in order to provide ubiquitous services to users.

The candidate will work together with the team to design the communication protocol, implement the testbed on Raspberry Pi, etc. Minimum logistic work may be required.

The team members are Dr. Chong Zan Kai, Prof. Ir. Dr. Goi Bok Min, Prof. Ir. Dr. Ewe Hong Tat, Dr. Lai An Chow and Dr. Goh Hock Guan and Ms. Tan Lyk Yin. This is also a collaboration project with researchers from Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

The interested candidates should send their resumes to Dr. Chong Zan Kai

Note: The calling is closed. Thank you.

Calling for Research Assistant at UTAR

We are looking for ONE candidate that is

  • Good in programming and mathematics
  • Willing to learn
  • Good English
  • Discipline and independent

to work on a research project that improves the future network throughput with computer accelerator. The successful candidate will be paid with RM 2,500 for 12 months (renewable to another year). Knowledge in parallel processing and coding theory are preferable, but not a must. The successful candidate is expected to register for Master of Engineering Science in Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering Science (LKCFES). LKCFES FYP-2 students are encouraged to apply.

Description of the Project Rateless erasure code is a kind of error-correction code, where the original message can be reconstructed from the fractional encoded message. The emergence of rateless erasure code promises a better network throughput, but constrained by the bottleneck in the corresponding encoding and decoding speed.

The candidate needs to improve the encoding and decoding speed of the rateless erasure code with graphical processing unit (GPU) and to apply it in network communication. Some logistic work may be required.

The team members includes Chong Zan Kai, Prof. Goi Bok Min, Prof. Ewe Hong Tat, Dr. Lai An Chow and Yap Wun She.

The interested candidates should send their resumes to Chong Zan Kai

Download the PDF here Call for RA in UTARRF (2015).

Note: The calling is closed. Thank you.

Tutorial on Sage mathematics software system / Python Programming

Dear UTAR Students,

I am giving a 3 hours tutorial on Sage on the coming Friday (23-Jan-2015), 10am-1pm at SE203 computer lab.

Sage ( is an open-source mathematics software system that is derived from Python programming language. Unlike C / C++programming , Sage enables the users to focus only on the problem solving instead of dealing with the computer resources and settings (e.g. memory architecture, pointers, variable types, brackets etc.).

Basically, the tutorial is meant for the students of UEET2533 Information Theory and Coding to kick-start their assignment. Following the common practice in teaching this subject, the tutorial will be opened to public (UTAR). Students from other courses are welcome to join as the tutorial will be general enough for all the students with little knowledge in C programming (not a must, though).

We will do the programming using the cloud service at and the slides can be found in . We will spend the first hour to learn programming in the cloud; the second hour on the syntax and control logic and the last hour on solving some simple math problems (e.g. 1+1=2).

No registration is required but do let me know if you are coming as the computer lab can only accommodate limited number of students.

Let’s have fun in programming!

Circuit Theory 2014 May – Teaching Summaries

  I start writing summaries for my daily teaching in UTAR and posted them in our dedicated Facebook group.

  I not really sure if the students will appreciate the summaries. But I do think* that they can use the summaries to recap what have been delivered in that the class while they are asleep. To me, these summaries can re-explain and re-clarify some concepts, which I have badly explained in class.

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Why 1+2 + … + n = n × (n+1) /2 ?

Still remember how to calculate the summation for 1+2+3+ … + 10 ? Well, the summation for the first ten sequence (starting from 1) is 55.

But, how do you calculate it? Pressing the sequence into calculator, one by one manually?

Fine. What if I change the question to 1+2+ …+ 1000. Probably, you will not bother to calculate this anymore.

Try to recall what you have learned in secondary school  — there is a formula!

1+2+3+ …+ n = n × (n + 1) /2

Perhaps, the math teacher had challenged you to add from 1 to 100, or to any suggested number and he could give you the answer in 5 seconds. Later, he disclosed the secret formula to you and the whole class laughing together and learned the secret formula.

So, why 1+2+3+ …+ n = n × (n + 1) /2  ?

Perhaps your math teacher just ask you memorize this secret formula (that why you have forgotten?). In fact, there are a few proofs to derive this formula. In the following, I will provide a simple example to derive the summation formula. Be noted that, this is just a simple illustration and it is NOT a complete proof.

Okay. Assuming we have 4 x 4 = 16 balls that are arranged as the following picture.


This balls topology can further be segmented to two triangles one rectangle.

So, the first triangle + the middle rectangle +right triangle balls = 16 balls. Note that we didn’t change the number of balls. We just represent 16 balls in different topology.
The left and the triangles are actually the same balls. So, they can be combined as “two triangles”.
Okay. We continue to move the second rectangle to the right. So, the right hand side becomes 4×4 – the rectangle.
Since the rectangle has 4 balls, 4 x 4 – rectangle becomes 4 x 3 (or, 3 x 4).
Now, we divide the left hand and the right hand sides by 2, and the “equation” becomes “one triangle = 4 x 3 /2”.
Note that the triangle is one ball + two balls + three balls. If we change all these balls to numbers, the equation becomes…
That is exactly 1 + 2 + … + n = n × (n + 1) / 2.
The example is taken from Joseph H. Silverman’s “A Friendly Introduction to Number Theory” 3rd Edition.