Citation delivered by Professor Norman TIEN, Dean of Engineering
Dr Harry Shum is Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research group.
Dr Shum studied at the University of Hong Kong, earned an MPhil degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1991, and was a Swire Scholar at Robert Black College. He was conferred a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1996.
Dr Shum is currently responsible for driving Microsoft's overall Artificial Intelligence strategy, that is, its 'AI' strategy, as well as Microsoft’s forward-looking research and development efforts - which covers infrastructure, services, apps and agents. He oversees AI-focused product groups, and also leads Microsoft Research, one of the world’s premier computer science research organisations.
Previously, Dr Shum served as the Corporate Vice President responsible for development of Microsoft’s Bing search engine from 2007 to 2013. Prior to his engineering leadership role at Bing and online services, he oversaw the research activities at Microsoft Research Asia and the lab's collaborations with universities in the Asia Pacific region. He was also responsible for the Internet Services Research Center, an applied research organisation dedicated to advanced technology investment in online search and advertising at Microsoft.
After his PhD in 1996, Dr Shum joined Microsoft Research. In 1998, he moved to Beijing as one of the founding members of Microsoft Research China (later renamed Microsoft Research Asia). There he began a nine-year tenure as a researcher, then Research Manager, Assistant Managing Director and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia, and a Distinguished Engineer of Microsoft Corporation.
Dr Shum is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering of the United States.
Mr Pro-Chancellor, one of the greatest assets of the University of Hong Kong is our alumni, and Dr Shum is an outstanding example. For while his work and responsibilities seemed global in scale, his loyalty has remained focused on HKU.
Far from being drawn further and further away from his alma mater by his career and obligations around the world, he has unwaveringly supported the University and the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
- He has provided the Department with his counsel and leadership as a member of its Advisory Board.
- He has personally delivered public lectures on campus, including the William Mong Distinguished Lecture in 2006 and the Engineering Centenary Distinguished Lecture in 2012.
- He has supported the Department’s research in a manner that goes beyond the personal: such has been his belief in our research that he committed Microsoft to donate matching bids on more than one significant research funding opportunity.
- And perhaps most movingly, in 2014 he established a scholarship in the Department as a way of paying tribute to his former MPhil supervisor, Professor Tso Shiu Kit, who has retired from the Department.
- In fact, true to form, Dr Shum has spent most of today at HKU, talking with our engineering students, and meeting with our academics!
In Dr Shum's earlier lectures at HKU, the themes of 'vision' and 'searching' have often been present. Those listening to him would have recognised that he was speaking in technological terms. But today, we honour Dr Shum’s own visionary leadership and his lifelong quest, or search, for research innovations that will make a difference in our lives.
It gives me great pleasure, Mr Pro-Chancellor, to present Dr Harry Shum for the Honorary University Fellowship, in recognition of his contributions to Hong Kong and academia.