CHUA Tat-Seng

KITHCT Chair Professor

Department of Computer Science (AS6,#05-08)Tel:     +(65)-6516-2505
School of ComputingFax:    +(65)-6779-4580
National University of SingaporeEmail: chuats AT


Dr Chua is the KITHCT Chair Professor at the School of Computing, National University of Singapore. He was the Acting and Founding Dean of the School during 1998-2000. Dr Chua's main research interest is in multimedia information retrieval and social media analysis. In particular, his research focuses on the extraction, retrieval and question-answering (QA) of text, video and live media arising from the Web and social networks. He is the Director of a multi-million-dollar joint Center (named NExT) between NUS and Tsinghua University in China to develop technologies for live media search. The project will gather, mine, search and organize user-generated contents within the cities of Beijing and Singapore. His group participates regularly in TREC-QA and TRECVID video retrieval evaluations.


Dr Chua is active in the international research community. He has organized and served as program committee member of numerous international conferences in the areas of computer graphics, multimedia and text processing. He is the conference co-chair of ACM Multimedia 2005, ACM CIVR 2005, and ACM SIGIR 2008. He serves in the editorial boards of: ACM Transactions of Information Systems (ACM), Foundation and Trends in Information Retrieval (NOW), The Visual Computer (Springer Verlag), and Multimedia Tools and Applications (Kluwer). He is the member of steering committee of ICMR (International Conference on Multimedia Retrieval) and Multimedia Modeling conference series; and as member of International Review Panel of two large-scale research projects in Europe.


Dr Chua serves as the Chairman of the Board of Examiners for the Certified IT Project Management (“CITPM”) in Singapore. He is the independent Director of 2 publicly listed companies in Singapore. He holds a PhD from the University of Leeds, UK.


My main research interest is in multimedia information retrieval and social media analysis. In particular, my research focuses on the extraction, retrieval and question-answering (QA) of text, video and live media arising from the Web and social networks. I am the Director of a multi-million-dollar joint Center between NUS and Tsinghua University in China to develop technologies for live media search. The project will gather, mine, search and organize user-generated contents within the cities of Beijing and Singapore. My group participates regularly in TREC-QA and TRECVID video retrieval evaluations and have achieved top positions; we have also won the A*STAR Grand Challenge on media search in 2008. More Research Details...


My scientific impact on Google Scholar


Current Research Grants:

a)   Project Title: NExT: NUS-Tsinghua center for Extreme Search (of User-Generated Contents)

      Source: MDA, Singapore

      Approved fund: S$10 million.

      Duration: May 2010 - May 2015

b)  Project Title: Geographical Information Retrieval via Spatial Annotation of Web Media

      Source: A*STAR,Singapore

      Approved fund: S$600,890.

      Duration: August 2010 - July 2013


Associate Editors of Journals

  • The Visual Computer (Springer-Verlag) – (1993 – present)
  • Multimedia Tools and Applications (Kluwer) – (1998 – present)
  • ACM Transaction of Information Systems (ACM) – (2007 – present)
  • Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval (FnTIR) – (2010 – present)


Steering Committee Members

  • Multimedia Modeling Conference (international) – (since 1993)
  • ACM Internal Conference on Multimedia Retrieval (ICMR) (international) – (started as CIVR in 2004, now renamed as ICMR)


Conference General Co-Chairs

  • ACM SIGIR – Aug 2008 (Singapore)
  • ACM Multimedia - Nov 2005 (Singapore)
  • CIVR (Conference on Image & Video Retrieval) – Jul 2005 (Singapore)
  • Computer Graphics International (CGI)- 1990 (Singapore); 2000 (Switzerland); 2001 (Hong Kong); 2003 (Japan)
  • Multi-Media Modeling (MMM)- 1993 (Singapore); 1995 (Singapore); 1997 (Singapore); 2003 (Taiwan)
  • Pacific Graphic-- 1998 (Singapore)


Conference Technical Program Co-Chairs

  • ACM SIGIR PC Co-Chair – Aug 2011 (China)
  • CIVR (Conference on Image & Video Retrieval) – Jul 2009 (Greece)
  • ACM ICMR Co-Chair – Apr 2013 (USA)


Technical Program Committees and Area Chairs

  • Numerous conferences in computer graphics and multimedia areas, including: ACM Multimedia, ACM SIGIR, ACL (Association of Computational Linguistics), EMNLP, WWW, Computer Graphics International (CGI), Computer Animation, Pacific Graphics, Multimedia Modeling (MMM), IEEE Int’l Conference on MM and Expo (ICME)


Services in Singapore

Invited Talks

Invited presentations at scientific conferences/workshops

(since 2008 only)

  • Keynote Speaker: “Managing large-scale social images as part of a live Social Media Observatory”. The 13th Pacific-Rim Conference on Multimedia (PCM2012), Singapore, Dec 2012.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Live Social Monitors: Learning the Social Pulses of a City from User-Generated Contents”. The 13th Int’l Workshop on Image Analysis for Multimedia Interactive Services (WIAMIS), Dublin, Ireland, May 2012.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Learning the Social Pulses of a City from User-Generated Contents”, Workshop on Social Behavioural Networked Media Access (SBNMA’11), in ACM Multimedia ‘2011, Arizona, USA, 28 Nov – 1 Dec 2011.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Extracting Structured Knowledge from User-Generated Information Resources”, Workshop on SWSM (Social Web Search and Mining, Analysis under Crisis), in ACM SIGIR ‘2011, Beijing, China, 24-28 July 2011.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Multimedia Question-Answering (MMQA)”, MMM ‘2011 (International Conference on Multimedia Modeling), Taipei, Taiwan, Jan 2011.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Extracting Knowledge form Community QA (cQA) Sites”, COLING Workshop (People’s Web Meets NLP), COLING’10 (23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics 2010), Beijing, China, 23-28 August 2010.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Towards Web-Scale Media Content Analysis and Retrieval”, CIVR’2010 (International Conference on Image and Video Retrieval 2010), Xi’an, China, 5-7 July 2010.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Web-Scale Media Search: From Research Prototype to Commercial Applications”,  DICTA’2009 (Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications), Melbourne, 1-3 December 2009.
  • Keynote Speaker: “Visual Dictionary: Toward a Higher-level Visual Representation for Object Categorization”,  SIGFRA’09 (The Singaporean-French IPAL Symposium), Singapore, 18-20 February, 2009
  • Keynote Speaker: “A Unified MMM Model for Media Content Analysis and Retrieval”, MMM 2008 (International Conference on Multimedia Modeling). Kyoto, Japan, January 2008



I am currently teaching two modules:

  • CS3246: Multimedia Content Analysis and Search
  • CS4242: Social Media Computing


Supervision of graduate students

  • I have graduated 16 PhD Students since 2004
  • I am currently supervising 9 PhD students as main supervisor


Details of Modules:

CS3246: Multimedia Content Analysis and Search

Aims and Objectives:

This course introduces the concepts, issues, design, implementation, standards and applications of multimedia technologies, with special emphasis on media content analysis and search. The media to be considered include text, digital image, digital video and their integration. At the end of this course, the students should have the expertise and competence to design, implement and deploy multimedia search systems, with a good understanding of the architecture of modern search engines.

Brief Description:

The term “multimedia” essentially refers to the “means of communications through multiple media”. Although human-to-human communications are essentially multi-sensory and multi-modal, until recently, human-computer communications have been largely text-based. The rapid development in last 20 years has enable technologies for multi-modal communications and analysis to become a reality. Also, the emergence of Web 2.0 and social network has resulted in the wide availability of and demand for multimedia contents. The ability to analyze, index and retrieve such multimedia contents, especially as they are being produced in real-time, will be of paramount importance.

This module presents techniques for the representation, compression, storage, analysis and retrieval of Web-scale digital multimedia information, and their implementation as media search engines. The module is divided into 2 parts. The first part discusses the characteristics, mathematical foundation, compression, processing and applications of digital multimedia data including: text, image and video. It also covers standards in digital multimedia data such as JPEG, MPEG & H261, etc. The second part covers the analysis and retrieval of multimedia contents, including text, image and video. The course will also introduce modern architecture for text and image search engines.


1.   Introduction to multimedia systems: basic concepts in multimedia; applications in media search & social media analysis; summary

2.   Fundamentals of digital images and transformations: digital image representation; color look-up tables; dithering and filtering; Instagram-style applications.

3.   Multimedia Compression Techniques: Principles of compression; basic digital compression techniques; Hoffman & Arithmetic Coding; LZW; Predictive Coding

4.   JPEG compression standards: lossy compression schemes; device independent color models; transformed based compression techniques; GIF and JPEG.

5.   Text representation and retrieval: free text representation; term-based feature extraction and weighting; vector-space retrieval model; relevance feedback; indexing schemes; architecture of a text search engine; Lab exercise on text search

6.   Image content analysis and retrieval: visual features, feature extractions; similarity metrics; indexing (inverted index and hash-based index) and retrieval; architecture and UI of image retrieval systems; Lab practices on image search

7.   Digital video: digital video fundamentals; video compression principles and techniques; MPEG standards: MPEG-1 & MPEG-2; introduction to MPEG-4; H261 video conferencing standards.

8.   Future of media search: mobile search, social media search and vertical domain search.


CS4242: Social Media Computing

Aims and Objectives:

This module introduces the background and present states of social networks and their analysis in terms of contents, users, social relations and applications. The social network to be covered include microblogs sites like Twitter, social communication sites like Facebook, location sharing sites like 4Square, and photo sharing sites like Instagram and Flicker. At the end of this module, students are expected to have good understanding of the background, design, analysis and implementation of social media analysis systems.

Brief Description:

The emergence of WWW, smart mobile devices and social networks has revolutionized the way we communicate, create, disseminate, and consume information. This has ushered in a new era of communications that involves complex information exchanges and user relationships. This module aims to study the social network phenomena by analyzing the complex social relation networks between users, the contents they shared, and the ways contents and events are perceived and propagated through the social networks. The analysis will provide better understanding of the concerns and interests of users, and help to uncover the live and emerging events that will affect the community.

List of Topics to be covered:

  1. Introduction to social networks: types of social networks, the targeted users, social impacts, privacy and trust issues
  2. Overview of social media analysis framework; information gathering, storage and analysis; applications; truth and reliability
  3. The users and relationship networks: graph theory and social networks; information networks and WWW; analysis of network dynamics based on population and structural models; markets and strategic interactions in networks; applications
  4. The social media contents: text, social text, images, videos, location check-ins; their crawling, feature extraction, analysis, fusion, indexing and search
  5. Analytics: location, people and organization analytics; trend analysis, user communities, detection of live and emerging events
  6. Applications: social assistance and recommendations
  7. Future trends