HKUST Annual Report 2017-18

22 Research Highlights DESIGN AND PRICING OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES The design and pricing of products and services are increasingly important due to technological changes, new offers from competitors, and changes in consumer tastes. A research project led by Prof. Guillermo GALLEGO (Industrial Engineering and Decision Analytics) addresses this problem by optimally selecting the attributes to be included in a product, the quality level of each included attribute, and the product’s price. The work is done in the context of consumer choice models. They have shown that their design is win-win for the multinomial logit model, the most commonly used choice model, in the sense that it simultaneously maximizes the firm’s profit and the expected consumer surplus. His group is extending the results to other choice models and working with companies on the design and pricing of services in the knowledge economy, including cloud computing and airline fares. STEERING AHEAD IN INDOOR NAVIGATION Prof. Gary CHAN (Computer Science and Engineering) and his research team invented a fusion-based technology that markedly improves accuracy of positioning inside buildings, enabling smart location- based applications such as indoor navigation, location-based personalized recommendation, crowd analysis, and people flow control. The location sensing technology comprises a software suite fusing Wi-Fi with other signals on mobile platforms. It can reduce positioning error to less than 2.5 meters in general environments, three times more accurate than traditional approaches. ON-OFF MECHANISM FOR NEURONAL ACTIVITIES An interdisciplinary team of scientists discovered how human brains turn on and off neuronal activities, providing an important foundation to understand neurologic conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and ataxia- telangiectasia diseases. The team, led by Prof. Karl HERRUP (Life Science), found the brain balances excitation and inhibition through regulating the levels of large kinase enzymes ATM and ATR. The team further discovered ATM only regulates excitatory synaptic vesicles while ATR is only responsible for inhibitory ones. The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.