The Intelligent Simulation and Digital Port Lab (ISDP) was established in December 2019. The aims of the lab are to develop the cutting-edge technologies and systems for the next generation intelligent port. This includes, but not limited to, the innovative use of the latest technologies in 5G, IoT, big data analytics, simulation, computational intelligence, reinforcement learning, deep learning, edge computing, operations research, and large-scale optimization. One of our major projects "Container ToS System Key Technology Innovations and Pilot Applications" has been funded by both NSFC General Grant and Ningbo Science and Technology Innovation 2025 Programme with funding of CNY 2,550,000. Collaborating with Ningbo Zhoushan Port Co., Ltd. Our patented dynamic truck dispatching system has been deployed in Ningbo No 2 Port terminal, and improves overall intra-terminal transportation efficiency between 7-12%, which translates into millions of annual saving in costs. The following are some highlights of the lab:

  • Scheduling and Optimisation together are two of the outstanding research areas in the University of Nottingham, represented by the Computational Optimisation and Learning (COL) Lab  (previously called the ASAP research group). This group was the inventor of the well-known hyper-heuristic search framework which is now being used in Heathrow Airport for aircraft taking-off sequencing and Alibaba Cainiao Network for transportation truck routing. COL Lab also has two spin-out companies: Event Map and Optia Nesting.
  • Similar to Heathrow Airport in UK, for UNNC, Ningbo-Zhoushan port is the signature site of Zhejiang and Ningbo since it is the largest port in the world by tonnage. The ISDP Lab is collaborating with Ningbo-Zhoushan port to achieve improvements in the efficiency of port operations by developing cutting-edge technologies to innovate their current operations and businesses. UNNC is able to help them achieve this goal through the AIOP research group and ISDP Lab.
  • ISDP currently has access to large amount of real-life data from the Port, including real-time data. In the era of big data and AI, this is the lab' s most valuable asset.
  • The ISDP Lab is currently undergoing a new phase of development which will allow for excellent demonstration of some of the most exciting technologies, including 5G, Big Data, AI, VR/MR, Computer Vision, and Edge Computing.
  • The technologies developed by the lab will be transferable to other application domains such as intelligent manufacturing.


Ongoing Projects

Model and Data Driven Hyper-Heuristics for Combinatorial Optimization and Their Applications in Port Operation Integrated Scheduling

Funder: NSFC General Program, Ref: 72071116, Amount: RMB 566K, 2021-2024.

Key technological enhancement and applications for Ningbo port Terminal operating system

Funder: Ningbo Science & Technology Bureau, Amount: RMB 2m. 2019/10-2022.

Robust data mining technologies and their application in cold logistics chain big data analytics

Funder: Ningbo Science & Technology Bureau, Reference: 2017D10034, Amount: RMB 1.2m, 2017-2020.

Freight service network design optimisation and its applications

Funder: Zhejiang Natural Science Foundation, Outstanding Young Scientist (LR17G010001). Amount: RMB 250,000. 2017-01 to 2020-12.

Research Team

The lab shall become a main research platform for the following AIOP members:
 Name Title Department Areas
Ruibin Bai Professor  CS Machine Learning, Optimisation, Computational Intelligence, Scheduling and Logistics
Jiang Liu Visiting Professor  CS Precision medical imaging, Machine Learning 
Amin Farjudian Associate Professor  CS Robustness, Parallel computing
Dave Towey Associate Professor  CS Software testing
Jianfeng Ren Assistant Professor  CS Computer Vision, machine learning
Jiawei Li Assistant Professor  CS Optimisation, Scheduling
Zheng Lu Assistant Professor  CS Machine Learning, NLP, Computer Vision
Chiew-Foong Kwong Assistant Professor  EEE 5G, IoT
Chris Roadknight Assistant Professor  CS Simulation Optimisation
Qian Zhang Assistant Professor  CS Computer Vision
Heshan Du Assistant Professor  CS Reasoning, video understanding
Zhen Tan Assistant Professor  NUBS Logistics 
Saeid Pourroostaei Ardakani  Assistant Professor  CS Big data analytics
Huan Jin Assistant Professor  CS Optimisation, operations research
Ying Weng Assistant Professor  CS Data Mining, Machine Learning
Heng Yu Assistant Professor  CS Edge Computing
Georgios Kapogiannis Assistant Professor  ABE Simulation, 3D modelling, VR/MR
Matthew Pike Assistant Professor  CS VR/MR
Boon Giin Lee Assistant Professor  CS VR/MR



External Partners


Lab Director

          Professor Ruibin Bai

Contact Us

Professor Ruibin Bai

Mr. Haibo Dong