Fan (Frank) Xue


Dr XUE, Fan (Frank, 薛帆)

Hi! I am Frank, Assistant Professor working on the theme 'AI + city' at Department of Real Estate and Construction, HKU. My theoretical work includes:

Assistant Professor
Office: KB512
Tel: +852 3917 4174
Fax: +852 2559 9457



Job experiences

As trained as a multidisciplinary engineer, I am trying to solve complicated problems in building and construction with computational intelligence:

  •  Urban computing: automatic BIM/CIM modeling, 2D-3D semantics, voxel, geo-data, visual object detection, personal smart assistant, common spatiotemporal data, blockchain, etc.,
  •  Optimization algorithm: derivative-free optimization (DFO), hyper-heuristics, combinatorial optimization, multi-agent system, & NK-modeling, etc.
  •  Machine learning: prediction, big data analytics, pattern recognition, text mining, semantics analysis,
  •  Urban sensing: IoT, RFID, NFC, LiDAR, VR/AR, Phone sensors, & Arduino, and
  •  Professional software: plugins (Revit, SketchUp, etc.), desktop solutions (C/C++, Java/EE, Python, Ruby, C#, etc.), websites (JSP, HTML5, PHP, etc.), & databases (MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, SQLite, etc.)

Research Projects


PI: HKU-Tsinghua SPF (HK$70,000 HKU side + CNY 70,000 Tsinghua side). A derivative-free optimization (DFO) approach for 3D scene understanding using civil engineering context. (Co-PI: Dr Hongling Guo)
Keywords: BIM; DFO; deep learning; 3D point cloud

Co-PI: HKU (HK$915,870). Development of an Urban Big Data Platform for Smarter Hong Kong: Integrate to Inspire. (PC: Prof Chris Webster)
Keywords: urban big data; urban computing; deep learning; street view; 3D point cloud

Co-PI: Key R&D Program of the Guangdong Province (2019B010151001, CNY 10 million). The applications of Virtual Reality technologies for cultural heritage conservation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area [面向粤港澳历史文化保护传承的虚拟现实技术研究与应用]. (PC: Dr Youyi Xiong)
Keywords: Digital conservation; VR; BIM; GIS; automatic as-is modeling

Co-I: NSFC General Program (71671156, CNY 493,000). A Social Network Analysis and NK-model based study of stakeholder relationship in mega construction projects [基于社会网络分析及NK模型的重大建设项目干系人关系研究]. (PI: Prof Geoffrey Shen)

Co-I: NSSFC Major Program (17ZDA062, CNY 800,000). Evaluation on the environment-resources carrying capacity in megacities and policy instruments with the big data background [大数据背景下我国大型城市资源环境承载力评价与政策研究]. (PI: Prof Liyin Shen)

Co-I: HK ECF (111/2019, HK$ 485,000). Big data-based "AI inspector" for gauging inert contents at the off-site construction waste sorting facilities in Hong Kong. (PI: Prof Wilson Lu)

Co-I: HK PICO SPPR (S2018.A8.010.18S, HK$2.9 million). Boosting Construction Waste Material Sharing in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. (PI: Prof Wilson Lu)

Co-I: HK PICO PPR (2018.A8.078.18D, HK$447,350). "Finding the Needles in a Haystack": Identification of the Illegal Dumping of Construction Waste Using Big Data. (PI: Prof Wilson Lu)


PI: HKU Seed Fund for Basic Research (201711159016). 'Find them all': A multi-modal optimization approach for automated detection of repetition in urban scenes. 2018-2019. HK$111,050.
Keywords: 3D point cloud; repetition; multimodal optimization

PI: HKU Seed Fund for Basic Research (201702159013). Automated architectural symmetry recognition from 3D point clouds. 2017-2018. HK$300,000.
Keywords: 3D point cloud; symmetry; optimization

Co-I: NSFC General Program (60472123). Airport ground service scheduling optimization based on multi-agent coordination and data fusion [基于多Agent协作及信息融合的飞机地面作业运行控制优化算法研究]. 2005-2006. CNY 80,000. PI: Prof. W. Fan.
Keywords: multi-agent-driven algorithm; scheduling; airport


2020. Research Output Prize 2018/19: The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

2019. Best Paper Award of ICSBS'2019: International Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Structures, Suzhou, China.

2017. The Special Award for Joint Computing in Construction: The LC3 Innovation Competition 2017, Heraklion, Greece.

2017. Shortlist in the Construction Industry Council (CIC) Construction Innovation Award 2017, Hong Kong SAR, China.

2016. The only Best Paper Award of CRIOCM'2016: The 21st International Conference on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate (CRIOCM'2016), Hong Kong SAR, China.

2016. Dual winners of GECCO'2016 Combinatorial Black Box Optimization (CBBOC): The 2016 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, Denver, USA.

2015. Tripple winners of GECCO'2015 Combinatorial Black Box Optimization (CBBOC): The 2015 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, Madrid, Spain.


Last update in Jan 2020. Please go to ResearchGate or Google Scholar for incoming entries.


Pervasive sensing technologies for facility management: A critical review. Facilities doi:10.1108/F-02-2019-0024

Embodied energy in service industry in global cities: A study of six Asian cities. Land Use Policy doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.104264

Is the private sector more efficient? Big data analytics of construction waste management sectoral efficiency. Resources, Conservation and Recycling doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2019.104674


A derivative-free optimization-based approach for detecting architectural symmetries from 3D point clouds. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing doi:10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2018.12.005

From semantic segmentation to semantic registration: Derivative-free optimization-based approach for automatic generation of semantically rich as-built Building Information Models from 3D point clouds. Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering doi:10.1061/(ASCE)CP.1943-5487.0000839

BIM reconstruction from 3D point clouds: A semantic registration approach based on multimodal optimization and architectural design knowledge. Advanced Engineering Informatics doi:10.1016/j.aei.2019.100965

Barriers to Building Information Modeling (BIM) implementation in China's prefabricated construction: An interpretive structural modeling (ISM) approach. Journal of Cleaner Production doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.02.141

Towards the "third wave": An SCO-enabled occupational health and safety management system for construction. Safety Science doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2018.07.013

Developing a conceptual framework of smart work packaging for constraints management in prefabrication housing production. Advanced Engineering Informatics doi:10.1016/j.aei.2019.100938

‘Cognitive facility management’: Definition, system architecture, and example scenario. Automation in Construction doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2019.102922

Understanding unstructured 3D point clouds for creating digital twin city: An unsupervised hierarchical clustering approach. CIB World Building Congress 2019

Semantic enrichment of city information models with LiDAR-based rooftop albedo. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Structures (ICSBS 2019). doi:10.1201/9781003000716-27 Best Paper Award.

Personalized walkability assessment for pedestrian paths: An as-built BIM approach using ubiquitous augmented reality (AR) smartphone and deep transfer learning. In The 23rd International Symposium on the Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate. in press.

Semantic enrichment for rooftop modeling using aerial LiDAR reflectance. In Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Signal Processing, Communications and Computing (ICSPCC 2019), doi:10.1109/ICSPCC46631.2019.8960769.


Linking radio-frequency identification to Building Information Modeling: Status quo, development trajectory and guidelines for practitioners. Automation in Construction. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2018.05.023

Automatic building information model reconstruction in high-density urban areas: Augmenting multi-source data with architectural knowledge. Automation in Construction. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2018.05.009

An Internet of Things-enabled BIM platform for on-site assembly services in prefabricated construction. Automation in Construction. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2018.01.001

Real options model of toll-adjustment mechanism in concession contracts of toll road projects. Journal of Management in Engineering. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000558

Searching for an optimal level of prefabrication in construction: An analytical framework. Journal of Cleaner Production. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.07.319

Cross-boundary collaboration in waste management research: A network analysis. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2018.08.005

A cost-benefit analysis of green buildings with respect to construction waste minimization using big data in Hong Kong. Journal of Green Building. doi:10.3992/1943-4618.13.4.61

A physical internet-enabled building information modelling system for prefabricated construction. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing. doi:10.1080/0951192X.2017.1379095

The Heterogeneity of BIM Objects in Different Construction Contexts. In Construction Research Congress 2018. doi:10.1061/9780784481264.021

Architectural symmetry detection from 3D urban point clouds: A derivative-free optimization (DFO) approach. In Advances in Informatics and Computing in Civil and Construction Engineering doi:10.1007/978-3-030-00220-6_61

3D point cloud data enabled facility management: A critical review. In Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on the Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate. in press, Springer.


Design of an efficient hyper-heuristic algorithm CMA-VNS for combinatorial black-box optimization problems. In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion. doi:10.1145/3067695.3082054

Integrating RFID and BIM technologies for mitigating risks and improving schedule performance of prefabricated house construction. Journal of cleaner production. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.07.156

Developing an Open Access BIM Objects Library: A Hong Kong Study. In Lean and Computing in Construction Congress-Volume 1: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Computing in Construction. doi:10.24928/JC3-2017/0254

Schedule risk modeling in prefabrication housing production. Journal of cleaner production. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.11.028

An Overview of the driving forces behind energy demand in China's construction industry: Evidence from 1990 to 2012. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2017.01.021

Prefabricated construction enabled by the Internet-of-Things. Automation in Construction. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2017.01.006

The Fusion of GIS and Building Information Modeling for Big Data Analytics in Managing Development Sites. Comprehensive Geographic Information Systems. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09677-9

'Local content' of corporate social responsibility in international construction business. ARCOM 2017.

Development of 3D building models using multi-source data: a study of high-density urban area in Hong Kong. In Lean and Computing in Construction Congress-Volume 1: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Computing in Construction. doi:10.24928/JC3-2017/0252

A Smart Construction Object (SCO)-Enabled Proactive Data Management System for Construction Equipment Management. In Computing in Civil Engineering 2017. doi:10.1061/9780784480830.017

The Experiences for Post-disaster Reconstruction in Rural China: The Implications from Data Mining. In Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-0855-9_36


An optimization-based semantic building model generation method with a pilot case of a demolished construction. In Proceedings of the 21st International Symposium on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-6190-5_22 Best Paper Award.

CMA-VNS2: An efficient hyper-heuristic algorithm for combinatorial black-box optimization. Technical report, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.3794.2002

SWOT analysis and Internet of Things-enabled platform for prefabrication housing production in Hong Kong. Habitat International. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2016.07.002

A multi-regional structural path analysis of the energy supply chain in China's construction industry. Energy Policy. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.01.017

Schedule risks in prefabrication housing production in Hong Kong: a social network analysis. Journal of cleaner production. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.02.123

Energy use embodied in China's construction industry: A multi-regional input–output analysis. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2015.09.068

Bridging the Cyber and Physical Systems for Better Construction: A Case Study of Construction Machinery Monitoring and Utilization. In Proceedings of the 21st International Symposium on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-6190-5_35

Smart gateway for bridging BIM and building. In Proceedings of the 21st International Symposium on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-6190-5_115

2011 ~ 2015

PhD Thesis: A suboptimum- and proportion-based heuristic generation method for combinatorial optimization problems. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Advisors: Dr. C.Y. Chan, Dr. Andrew W.H. Ip, Prof. Benny C.F. Cheung.

Project-based as-needed information retrieval from unstructured AEC documents. Journal of management in engineering. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000341

Cma–vns: A short description. Technical report, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.5029.6564

Embodied energy of service trading in Hong Kong. Smart and sustainable built environment. doi:10.1108/SASBE-08-2014-0046

Towards Physical Internet-enabled prefabricated housing construction in Hong Kong. IFAC-PapersOnLine. doi:10.1016/j.ifacol.2015.06.227

Building information technologies and challenges in precast housing construction in Hong Kong. In The 7th International Conference of Sustainable Development in Building and Environment

A suboptimum-and proportion-based heuristic generation method for combinatorial optimization problems. (Doctoral dissertation), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

A hyper-heuristic inspired by pearl hunting. In Learning and intelligent optimization. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-34413-8_26

A learning-based variable assignment weighting scheme for heuristic and exact searching in Euclidean traveling salesman problems. NETNOMICS: Economic research and electronic networking. doi:10.1007/s11066-011-9064-7

Pearl hunter: A hyper-heuristic that compiles iterated local search algorithms. CHeSC competition.

2006 ~ 2010

MSc Thesis: Coordinating Multi-agent with Organization in Distributed Scheduling System 结合组织模型的多Agent分布式调度研究 (中文版). Civil Aviation University of China. Advisor: Prof. W. Fan.

Towards a learning-based heuristic searching reform scheme. EURO XXIV.

Multi-agent optimization design for multi-resource job shop scheduling problems. In International Conference on Intelligent Computing. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-74205-0_123

Optimize cooperative agents with organization in distributed scheduling system. In International Conference on Intelligent Computing. doi:10.1007/11816171_61

Talks & Invited Lectures


Evolutionary computation with applications in 3D urban reconstruction. Civil Aviation University of China. 24 September 2019, Tianjin, China.

From geometric landscape to fitness landscape: As-built BIM reconstruction through optimization. Huazhong University of Science and Technology. 27 May 2019, Wuhan, China.


Derivative-free optimization: Theory and applications in construction management. Tongji University. 19 October 2018, Shanghai, China.

Demystifying BIM & Innovation. Zhejiang University of Finance & Economics. 18 October 2018, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.

Urban Semantics in BIM & GIS: From source to sea. Department of Civil Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. 15 October 2018, Suzhou, Zhejiang, China.

An efficient approach for symmetry detection in point clouds of constructions. Visual Computing Research Center, Shenzhen University. 22 June 2018, Beijing, China.

Semantic enrichment for BIM and GIS: A computational perspective. Frontiers in Construction Management, Shenzhen University. 22 May 2018, Shenzhen, China.

Enriching urban semantics to fuse BIM and CIM for smart city: examples, prospects, and challenges. Technology Collaboration: The first BIM and GIS Conference, Cyberport. 4 May 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Linking RFID to BIM: A demystification of research methods. Research Methodology, Renmin University of China. 21~22 March 2018, Beijing, China.


A Derivative-free Optimization Approach for Automated As-built 3D Modelling. CIB Student Chapter Workshop Series 2017. Aug 18, 2017, HK PolyU.

An optimization approach for automated as-built 3D modeling. REC Departmetal Seminars, Apr 6, 2017, HKU.

PhD and Job opportunities


Research Assistant in Big Data Platform: Efficient 2D/3D display and analysis of large-scale geo-spatial data on web. Preferred experiences in J2EE/JSON, responsive HTML5, Google Maps/Earth, and Cesium. Open until filled. (Contact: Frank Xue

Materials for new PhD/RA

Tips for New Researchers: 15 mins to sharpen your 'teeth' for research at HKU.