Network coding, invented around 2000, is a technique that can significantly improve network communication performance, including throughput, scalability and latency. Instead of only forwarding the received packets as the existing network communications, network coding enables the transmission of the combinations of the received packets at a network node.

Originated in information theory, network coding has propagated to various fields in engineering, including channel coding, wireless communications, computer networks, switching theory, cryptography, data storage, and distributed computing. In mathematics, network coding has interacted with graph theory, matroid theory, optimization theory, and game theory. In physics, quantum network coding is studied, and in biology, linear network coding has been used for modeling intracelluar communication.

In addition to its fundamental theoretical role, network coding is generating real-world impacts. Distributed storage systems designed based on network coding theory are being developed and tested all around the world. For many scenarios in Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data processing, network coding has been proven to be not only beneficial, but also necessary.

Network Coding Lab

The purpose of setting up Network Coding Lab (NCLab, 网络编码实验室) at CUHK(SZ) is to organize a group of world-leading researchers in this area to conduct research and development, apply for funding support, and pursue technology transfer.

NCLab will be in close collaboration with the Institute of Network Coding at CUHK (INC). With support from the University Grants Committee (UGC) of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region as an Area of Excellence (AoE), INC was set up at CUHK in 2010. It has been the leading research center on Network Coding since then. NCLab will borrow from the success experience of INC to build up its research and development team.