Established in January 2011, Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University, referred to as IIIS, is the first education and research institution dedicated to interdisciplinary information sciences in mainland China. It is led by Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, winner of the A.M. Turing Award in 2000, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences and aims to be a leading hub for research in interdisciplinary information sciences and top innovative talents worldwide.
IIIS undertakes research initially in computer science, with an outstanding record in theoretical computer science. In 2011, it opened Center for Quantum Information and expanded into broader areas in interdisciplinary information sciences, covering artificial intelligence, Fintech and quantum information. Led by Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, IIIS faculty consists of 28 award-winning academics who are actively involved and playing a leading role in research. Our research is to advance the frontiers of knowledge of which the quality and impact are demonstrated by numerous achievements including many highly-cited publications and commercial applications of the research results and innovations.
IIIS now provides three exceptional undergraduate education programs, widely known as Yao Class (founded in 2005), Artificial Intelligence Class (founded in 2019) and Quantum Information Class (founded in 2021). Since the launch of Yao Class, IIIS has built a reputation as a leading institute of high-impact undergraduate education recognized as “the best undergraduate program” through some prestigious national awards and honors. At present, there are 400 students in total at IIIS, including 225 undergraduate students and 174 graduate students from different countries and regions. Our alumni are now affiliated with internationally renowned universities and innovation enterprises all over the world.
With the economic and social development, IIIS explores new modes of engagement with industry, by linking with local governments and starting up research institutes with industrial collaboration in Nanjing, Xi’an, Beijing, Shanghai, etc. The modes ensure support for research commercialization in areas of AI, quantum information and Fintech, with aims to share good practice across the industrial and regional partnerships, and help deliver the government's industrial strategy priorities to grow the economy.
Prof. Yao's Remark at the Inauguration Ceremony of IIIS and CQI
Director Lei, Director Yang, President Gu, Academician Sun, Secretary Chen, dear colleagues and guests, Thank you for coming on such a Saturday afternoon for our big event. And I'm sorry that my remarks will be delivered in Chinese.
Today is a big day. Information science is a fundamental discipline of practical value. It witnessed substantial development over the past three decades as shown by Internet and high-performance computers. We can see that for the three decades to come, critical development lies in the interaction between information science and other disciplines. Tsinghua University has gained strong strength in information science and laid a profound foundation for the development of interdisciplinary sciences. Under such background, the establishment of Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences and Center for Quantum Information will promote new opportunities, which is of great significance not only to Tsinghua, but also to China as a whole. Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences currently hosts two research organizations, namely Institute for Theoretical Computer Science and Center for Quantum Information. Institute for Theoretical Computer Science has gained substantial development over the past six years while Center for Quantum Information is at its early stage. Now I'd like to briefly introduce these two fields, which will achieve considerable growth in the future.
Theoretical computer science studies algorithms and how to solve various scientific and engineering problems in the best and most efficient way. It has been greatly emphasized internationally and witnessed rapid development. China is at an early stage and will gain significant growth in this regard. Let me show you an example. In his testimony before US Congress, Mr. James Simons, the most profitable mathematician and funds manager proposed to set up graduate fellowship in mathematics, physics and theoretical computer science, which has shown what people of vision have in mind concerning the importance of theoretical computer science. This year, Mr. Simons proposed the establishment of a ten-year research center, with an annual input of six million US dollars. Many universities are competing for the grant, which indicates the great potential of theoretical computer science.
Quantum information has been widely reported in the media and one or several quantum information centers can be found throughout many regions including America, Europe, Canada and Singapore. They have been well-funded and devoted to the development of quantum Internet through quantum physics that transmits quantum information. Research centers across the world are competing for this goal, which will create great impact in quantum information as well as an enormous economic impact. Breakthroughs in fundamental science will surely bring tremendous influence on people's life. Therefore, Center for Quantum Information will join hands with other institutes in China to secure a competitive status in quantum information worldwidely.