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. The Research Center is the first joint center that MIT has ever established in China. It’s also the first time that Tsinghua University among other Chinese universities has launched its efforts to cooperate with top American universities in the form of joint research centers within theoretical computer science field.
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.
Presidents of the three universities signed the Agreement of the Research Center and extended their congratulations on its founding. Academician Gu believed that the Research Centers has provided scholars from the three universities a critical starting point and bond for cooperation on theoretical computer science. President Hockfield emphasized that the Research Center would surely lead international research within this field by employing world-class resources among the three universities. And Prof Sung, Vice Chancellor Designate of CUHK also showed great support for the Research Center by wishing it a great future.
In his remarks at the Inauguration Ceremony, Prof. Andrew Yao, Director of the Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science introduced its founding process and expressed special thanks to officials and scholars from the Ministry of Education as well as the three universities. He pointed out that the purpose of the Research Center has been two-fold; first one is to enhance research and cooperation in theoretical computer science and the second one is to promote international exchange of undergraduate and graduate students. He also pointed out that the founding of the Research Center is of great significance as nowadays great attention has been focused on the field of theoretical computer science.
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. ITCS headed by Prof. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao has generated impressive research outputs in its efforts to nurture the talents of students and researchers as well as to create knowledge for the advancement of computer science. CSAIL has long been a many-faceted driver of innovation in the area of theoretical computer science while ITCSC has witnessed rapid development in recent years.
Prof. Xi Chen, Deputy Secretary of Party Committee and Vice Minister of Education showed great respect for Prof. Andrew Yao for his contributions in the past six years at Tsinghua University since he left Princeton. He believed that the Research Center would provide a great platform for talents and serve as a bond between researchers on computer science at home and abroad. He expressed the hope that the Research Center headed by Prof. Yao would be an example for the cultivation of talents and scientific research for China’s higher education.
Prof. Yao was interviewed by CCTV, Phoenix TV and Xinhua News Agency TV after the Inauguration Ceremony. He introduced the management model and cooperation program of the Research Center. The initial directors of the Steering Committee are Si Yuan, Vice President of Tsinghua University, Philip Khoury, Associate Provost Office of the Provost, MIT and Pak-chung Ching, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CUHK. The initial co-directors are Andrew Chi-Chih Yao on behalf of Tsinghua and CUHK and Silvio Micali on behalf of MIT. The Research Center aims to further promote China’s influence in computer science and push forward its progress through student exchange and cooperation. He mentioned that 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. It would provide an important platform of international exchange for both students and faculty members in the area of theoretical computer science.
Tsinghua University has always placed great emphasis on exchange and cooperation with top international universities. The founding of the Tsinghua-MIT-CUHK Research Center for Theoretical Computer Science has ushered in a new era of strategic cooperation among Tsinghua University, MIT and CUHK.