Dr Wai-mo Suen, Founder and CEO of ClusterTech, was awarded at this year’s InnoStars Award by Our Hong Kong Foundation (OHKF), recognising his contributions to encouraging innovation, promoting entrepreneurship, and fostering the city’s development towards economic diversification.
Innovation: Rooted in Dignity and Soul of Humankind
Dr Suen, leads ClusterTech with the inquisitive spirit of a scientist and the application of high-performance computing technology to help corporations solve challenging obstacles such as managing massive amounts of data, large-scale calculation, in-depth analysis and artificial intelligence. All of his achievements are inextricably connected to his deep care for humanity, and as he puts it, “genuine advancements in technology should be human-oriented.”
Dr Suen was born into a family of scholars. His father, Suen Kwok-tung, previously under the tutelage of scholastic master Mr. Qian Bin-si, was Dean of New Asia College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His mother and grandparents were principals and college professors. At the California Institute of Technology in the US, Dr Suen received tuition from Nobel Laureate Professor Kip Thorne and attained a doctoral degree. He then dedicated himself to teaching and scientific research overseas for over 20 years. From 1990s, he took charge of several transnational supercomputing projects, and studied the Theory of Relativity in Astrophysics. Today, Dr Suen serves as Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics at Washington University of the US and Honorary Professor of Physics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Self-Made Entrepreneur Who Nurtures Talents for China
In 1999, Dr Suen was invited to be a visiting scholar in Hong Kong, and took with him part of his research on black holes to the city. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, Dr Suen was surprised that Hong Kong was lacking in supercomputers necessary for large-scale computing research while being subjected to a monopoly by foreign technologies. These hurdles kindled his aspiration to drive technological development in China. “Technologies purchased from others are not owned by us. Only by using computing technology, to create value for enterprises and encourage young people’s participation, can computing technology take hold in China for good.”
Dr Suen founded ClusterTech in Hong Kong in 2000 with a commitment to create values for clients with cutting-edge computing technology. Under Dr Suen’s leadership, ClusterTech provided the latest computing solutions for hundreds of national institutions and enterprises, some of which were the world’s top 500 corporations. His business further expanded into places such as mainland China, Taiwan, the UK, Canada, and Australia. His self-developed technologies and products were recognised with numerous awards. For example, the ClusterTech HPC Environment Software Stack (CHESS) claimed the “Hong Kong Awards for Industries – Technological Achievement Certificate of Merit” and “Excellent Software Product in China”; the ClusterTech artificial intelligence text processing technology “PRISMA” won Silver Award in the category of “Best Smart Hong Kong Award (Big Data Application)” in the Hong Kong ICT Awards.
Technological Innovations Rooted in Humanistic Spirit
Brought up in Chinese traditional culture, Dr Suen has embraced Chinese literati’s generous frame of mind uncommonly found in other entrepreneurs. He often quotes the phrase “rooted in dignity and soul of humankind” from the anthem of New Asia College to inspire his employees. “Authentic technological innovation should be based upon one’s dignity and soul,” he said. Regarding the formula for his personal success, Dr Suen, who is well versed in science and arts, cited from the Analects off the top of his head: “It was said that ‘educated people must be resolute, for they bear important responsibility and face a long journey ahead’. Only with vision, broadmindedness and unfailing persistence can people push the development of technology and society.”
For more information, please visit https://www.ourhkfoundation.org.hk/en/innostars/awardee2019/suenwaimo