|Professor Joseph K. Y. Ng Got a Patent from the German Patent Office
|Professor Joseph Ng, Professor of the Computer Science
Department of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), is among a team of Hong Kong
and German researchers who have received a patent from the German Patent Office
for a breakthrough project that has wide applications in industry, transport and
The project solves the clock synchronization problems arising
from transmission delays that occur when a message is transmitted from one
computer to others at different locations within the same network. The
researchers also solved the problem of transmission delays arising from
temperature differences among different locations.
Professor Ng says the breakthrough is beneficial to real-time
systems where the correctness of the system depends on both the correctness of
the computation and the time the result is generated. These systems can be found
in railway systems, air traffic control, space projects, power stations and auto
The project, entitled “Clock Synchronization in Nodes on a
Ring Bus”, has been carried out by Professor Ng with Professor Wolfgang Halang
and Dr. Thomas Erdner of the Fern University, Hagen, Germany. Professor Ng is
assisted by his research graduate Mr. Stephen Chan.
This is the first time Professor Ng has won a patent, and he
is glad the team’s work has been recognised.
Professors Ng and Halang, experts in real-time systems,
successfully bid some years ago for a grant from the Research Grants Council
under the German/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme. In 2001, they brought in each
other’s research students, Stephen Chan and Thomas Erdner, to conduct a research
project entitled “A Fault Tolerant and Jitter Free Fieldbus with GPS Based Time
Synchronisation Allowing for Wireless Mobile Operation”.
In a dual ring bus architecture, every message is transmitted
in parallel on both data channels but in opposite directions. The research team
successfully found out the key to make each slave synchronise its local clock
with the clock of the master node every time it receives a message. The research
results generated two conference papers and the application for two patents,
with one obtained and the other being processed.