History

 In 2005, Tsinghua University Special Pilot CS Class (Yao Class) Founded

Tsinghua University Special Pilot CS Class (formerly Microsoft Special Pilot CS Class) was founded by Professor Andrew Chi-Chih Yao and this class is called "Yao Class" in Tsinghua University. The founding of this "Yao Class" is due to the disparity of education background for undergraduate between China and prestigious universities overseas. Professor Yao, with his long years’ theoretical research and didactical experience, aims to help students from this class to become top CS talents like students from MIT, Stanford and so on.

Professor Yao is not going to cultivate ordinary computer software programmer but to cultivate international top computer talents. Hence, “Yao class” has developed a special teaching model. Theoretical courses focus on fundamental disciplines, to lay a solid foundation of fundamental knowledge for students; while in practice, much importance is attached to creating an international platform for academic exchange and practices, thus to cultivate students’ competence of independent research and practical working ability.

In order to provide students a high-level platform and to get access to the latest development, Professor Yao has developed the following four international teaching programs: (1) the most potential and promising first- and second-year students will be chosen to form an advanced class and be educated individually, hence to acquire a horizon as a future scientist; (2) all of the third-year students will go to Hong Kong University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong for academic exchange; (3) the best students will be sent annually to prestigious universities overseas for exchange study and short-term courses; (4) all of the fourth year students have chances to go to renowned scientific research institutes for field study.

The teaching concept and achievements of “Yao class” are highly acknowledged and supported by leaders of China and Ministry of Education. The latter has set up a special fund, to give financial support to this “Yao Class” for annual innovative practice and international exchange program, encouraging students to do their research interest and broaden their horizon.

 

In 2005, the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS) Founded

The Institute for Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS) is headed by Professor Andrew Chi-Chih Yao at Tsinghua University, mainly engaged in the research and education of computer science. Its mission is to nurture and develop the talents of students and researchers as well as to develop knowledge for the advancement of computer science and thus to make contributions to constructing world-class universities in China. It also aims to become one of the leading research centers on theoretical computer science in the world and to build up a super road for the research and education of computer science in China.

The founding and development of ITCS enables China’s theoretical computer science disciplinary to experience a qualitative change, starting from the fundamentals, and attracting more and more young talents to devote to this field. ITCS has been enjoying full support from China’s state leaders and Tsinghua University. Prof. Yao has been visited by state leaders many times, including Premier WEN Jiabao, who attached great importance to and have high expectation on ITCS’ development.

In 2009, Professor Yao unveiled the ambitious “China Computer Science 2020 Plan”, which proposes that ITCS, with the concerted efforts of scholars from around the world, would be developed into a world-class computer science institute by the year 2020. This strategic development objective is highly acknowledged and strongly supported by China’s state leaders and is now under implementation. According to the Plan, the size of ITCS faculty would increase to 30 in the 2010-2015 period and 60 in the 2015-2020 period and the number of PhD students would reach up to 120 and 240 respectively. The research fields would expand to five areas such as Theory, Security and Cryptography, Networks, Computational Biology and Machine Learning.

Since he left Princeton to become a Professor at Tsinghua University in 2004, Prof. Yao has been leading ITCS in its efforts to nurture the talents of students and researchers as well as to create knowledge for the advancement of computer science. Theoretical computer science is largely an abstract mathematical discipline that seeks to better understand the nature of computation. As an essential part of the discipline of computer science in world-leading universities, it provides theoretical basics for the development of computer science and technology. Therefore, we have witnessed impressive research results on interdisciplinary information sciences. Led by Prof. Yao, ITCS is building up an international faculty team, which has played an important role in teaching, research, talent recruitment and academic exchanges.

In the International Academic Review on Computer Science and Technology of Tsinghua University in August 2010, the committee has been impressed by the creation and progress of the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science under the leadership of Prof. Andrew Yao. They have been pleased to see the high level international academic activities developing around ITCS, which include the visits by a series of world-class experts in computer science, the student intern programs, and the establishment of collaborative programs with world leading institutions. ITCS has already had considerable positive impact on Tsinghua’s computer science program as part of its endeavor to become a world-class program.

 

In July 2010, Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science (CTCS) Founded

The Inauguration Ceremony of Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science took place at the Reception Hall of the Main Building, Tsinghua University on June 21, 2010. Prof. Si Yuan, Vice President of Tsinghua University hosted the Inauguration Ceremony and Prof. Xi Chen, Deputy Secretary of Party Committee and Vice Minister of Education, Academician Binglin Gu, President of Tsinghua University, Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, A.M. Turing Award laureate in the year 2000, member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Susan Hockfield, President of MIT, Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice Chancellor Designate of CUHK all presented at the Inauguration Ceremony and unveiled the plaque of the Research Center. Delegates from the three universities, faculty members and students from the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science, Tsinghua University (ITCS) also joined the Inauguration Ceremony.

The Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science is the first joint venture of its kind that MIT has established in China. It is also the first established by Tsinghua University with a top American university in the field of theoretical computer science.

(1) Scope: The Research Center has been co-founded by ITCS at Tsinghua University, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT (CSAIL), and the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science and Communications (ITCSC) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Research Center has been founded for the purpose of conducting collaborative scientific research on theoretical computer science, whose initial research agenda is broadly construed on the theory of computation and will be expanded in time and with success to include additional research areas in computer science, such as computational biology and machine learning.

(2) Activities: Major activities will include student and faculty exchanges, as well as joint research projects. Initially, there will be two undergraduates and two graduates per year from each university. To provide continuity and increase connections, these students will form teams that will work together at each institution. We also encourage joint supervision of the teams by faculty members across universities.

 

In December 2010, Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS) Founded

Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS) established on December 30, 2010, held the inauguration ceremony on January 15, 2011. Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Dean of the Institute, is a world-leading computer scientist, winner of the A.M. Turing Award in 2000, member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Institute aims to become one of the leading research centers on interdisciplinary information sciences in the world as well as to offer a habitat for the research and education of theoretical computer science and quantum information science in China.

The development of information science and technology has paved the way for modern civilization while computers, communication technologies and Internet, which are indispensable in our modern society, pervade all parts of human activity. The further development of information science in the 21st century depends on the exploration of new fundamentals and methods, the most effective method of which lies in the interaction between information science and other disciplines. IIIS at Tsinghua University led by Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao is devoted to promoting the innovative development of information science and cultivating the next generation of scientific talents with extensive background knowledge in China. It is primarily engaged in the interaction of information science and other disciplines, physics, mathematics, as well as life science and social sciences in particular in the future while conducting effective research in emerging disciplines and nurturing talents with distinctive characteristics.

IIIS is an umbrella institute hosting two research organizations, namely Institute for Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS) and Center for Quantum Information (CQI). ITCS emphasizes on the interaction between theoretical computer science and mathematics, while CQI focuses on the interaction of computer, information science and physics. IIIS also hosts two international research centers, namely Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science (CTCS) inaugurated in June, 2010 and the upcoming Tsinghua-Michigan Joint Center for Quantum Information (JCQI).

Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Dean of IIIS, is a world-leading computer scientist and winner of the A.M. Turing Award in 2000. The Turing Award is recognized as the “highest distinction in Computer Science” and the “Nobel Prize of computing”. Prof. Yao is the first Asian scholar to win to award since its establishment and the only Chinese laureate so far. Prof. Yao has a PhD in Physics from Harvard University and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. His road to success has been a powerful example showing the importance of developing interdisciplinary information sciences.

 

In January 2011, Center for Quantum Information (CQI) Founded

Quantum Information, as an emerging interdisciplinary area of subject in computer science, information science and quantum physics that provides a new technology in the post-Moore era, has explored new fundamentals and methods for the development of information science in the 21st century. Quantum information technology has grown into a focus in strategic competitions among countries. Quantum information science, as the core of quantum control and an interdisciplinary area of information networks and nanoscience, represents one of the key directions for the future development of science and technology in China.

Center for Quantum Information (CQI), Tsinghua University was established on January 6, 2011, and its inauguration ceremony took place at the Lecture Hall, FIT Building, Tsinghua University on January 15, 2011. Led by Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, world-leading computer scientist, winner of the A.M. Turing Award in 2000, CQI aims to develop a world-class platform for the teaching and research of quantum information in China.

Prof. Yao has made several pioneering contributions among the first few computer scientists in the area of quantum information. His research interests are in theory of computation and its applications to cryptography and quantum computing. Prof. Yao received the 2000 A.M. Turing Award in recognition of his fundamental contributions to the theory of computation, including the complexity-based theory of pseudorandom number generation, cryptography, and communication complexity. He is the first Asian laureate of the Turing Award since its establishment, whose research results have promoted the field of complexity theory and been critical to the development of quantum information. As a leading scientist in network communication complexity theory, Prof. Yao first developed the quantum communication complexity in 1993, which has laid the theoretical foundations for quantum computer. He developed the distributed quantum computation model in 1995, which has evolved into the basics of distributed quantum algorithms and quantum communication protocol security. Prof. Luming Duan, Professor of the University of Michigan and CC Yao Professor at Tsinghua University is in the steering committee of establishing a team on physical implementation of quantum information. Prof. Duan is a young leading figure in this area and his research on physical implementation of quantum networks, quantum computer, long-distance quantum communication and quantum simulation has brought about profound and extensive effects in quantum information.

CQI adopts management methods of top universities and institutions. Its current research interests include genuine quantum networks, quantum computation, quantum simulation, quantum algorithm and complexity theory, and quantum operation. As CQI develops further, its research and cooperation will extend to other fields related to quantum techniques and information security.

 

In July 2011, Tsinghua-Michigan Joint Center for Quantum Information (JCQI) Founded

Quantum Information, as an emerging cross-disciplinary area of subject in quantum physics and computer information science that provides a new technology in the post-Moore era, has explored new fundamentals and methods for the development of information science and physics in the 21st century. It also goes with the strategic goals of quantum control and information science in China.

Tsinghua-Michigan Joint Center for Quantum Information which seeks the complementarity between the University of Michigan and Tsinghua University in quantum information, is to establish an international first-class platform and center for talent cultivation in quantum information in Tsinghua University. It will promote China’s research in quantum information to the world-leading level. Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao and Prof. Luming Duan serve as directors of the Research Center.

Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao is a leading scientist in network communication complexity theory. He first developed the quantum communication complexity in 1993, which has laid the theoretical foundations for quantum computer. He developed the distributed quantum computation model in 1995, which has evolved into the basics of distributed quantum algorithms and quantum communication protocol security. Prof. Yao has made research contributions in three ways: (1) creating important subfields for theoretical computer science, (2) helping lay the foundations of modern cryptography, and (3) resolving open problems and establishing new paradigms in circuit complexity, computational geometry, data structures, and quantum computing. He was awarded the A.M. Turing Award in 2000 for his contributions to the theory of computation, including communication complexity, pseudorandom number generation, and quantum communication. His research has played a vital role in the development of quantum information.

Prof. Luming Duan is a theorist on quantum information, quantum optics, and atomic physics, with particular interest in quantum computing, networking, and quantum simulation in a variety of physical systems, including trapped ions, neutral atoms, photons, and semiconductor quantum dots. He is well known for a number of groundbreaking proposals for implementation of quantum information, including the “DLCZ” (Duan-Lukin-Cirac-Zoller) scheme for realizing long-distance quantum communication. His proposal of network-approach to scalable ion computation has laid down the theoretical foundation for recent big collaborative quantum computing projects in USA. His work on quantum simulation with ultracold atoms (2003) is one of the most cited theoretical papers on ultracold atoms in the last decade.

China has achieved sound research results in quantum cryptography communication based on photon system, though there is a big gap between China and other countries in quantum computing, quantum network and quantum simulation. Tsinghua-Michigan Joint Center for Quantum Information is to introduce top quantum technologies and talents from abroad and cultivate young scholars, thus promoting China’s research efforts in quantum network, quantum computing and quantum simulation. Prof. Yao has established the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science in Tsinghua University, which enjoys a vibrant research environment and impressive research outputs. Prof. Duan will join efforts in building a world-class team in quantum information by exerting his expertise in quantum information. The Research Center will nurture student’s capacity in both computer theory and physics realization through courses on quantum information and co-supervision of graduate students. We plan to organize international conferences and summer schools in quantum information as well as invite top experts to give lectures and conduct short-tem visits to expand students’ vision and promote international cooperation.

 

Upcoming, Tsinghua-Aarhus Center for the Theory of Interactive Computation (CTIC)

The Center for the Theory of Interactive Computation is a tight collaboration between IIIS, Tsinghua University and the Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University. The Center is to study foundational topics within the theory of computation using mathematical methods, with a special focus on the challenges arising with the development of interactive computation in the 21st century. The Center focuses on four related areas of theoretical computer science:

Computational complexity theory, the study of computational resources needed to do computation, providing the necessary foundation for understanding feasibility or infeasibility of computational tasks.

Cryptography, the study of how interactive computation can be made secure, a crucially important ingredient in an internet-based society.

Quantum Informatics, the study of how information process works when the behavior of communication and computing equipment is governed by quantum mechanics, a study that becomes necessary, as our electronic equipment grows too small for classical physics to apply.

Game Theory, the study of how multi-agent systems behave when agents have conflicting interests, a necessary perspective towards understanding interaction on networks spanning diverse sectors and countries across the globe.