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Let Undergraduate Students Possess Scientists' Blood and Insight As Early As Pos

October 17,2008

In autumn semester in 2008, some special undergraduate students entered the lab for graduate students and sat on their own seats. They are 11 pre-graduate students who are specially chosen from Tsinghua Special CS Pilot Class by Prof. Yao, who is Turing Award Recipient and world-famous scientist. Cultivating these 11 students has become the highest priority of ITCS’s work.

The establishment of pre-graduate class is full of Prof. Yao’s foresight and painstaking effort. He thinks that the advantage of education in top universities in US lies much in excellent professors who are able to let brilliant undergraduate students possess scientists’ blood and insight in an early time. “What we are going to do is pick the best students from freshmen and sophomore, train them to become personalized and make them become the top Ph.D. in the field of theoretical computer science.

After several years’ elaborate cultivation, the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science led by Prof. Yao has accumulated much experience in talent cultivation, and vigorous Tsinghua Special CS Pilot Class has become fertile soil for selecting students for pre-graduate class.

The first pre-graduate class has chosen 8 freshmen and 3 sophomores and this August, Prof. Yao sent them to 5 universities in Australia to have academic exchange. Besides the courses personally designed, Prof. Yao also selected textbooks, exercises and scientists’ autobiographies for them.  There is a group meeting every week for discussion. Pre-graduate students also need to attend seminars and forums organized by ITCS, and write their summaries and findings like Ph.D. candidates. ITCS prepares to purchase books on music and aesthetITCS to improve the scientific and humanity qualities of the students.

International exchange is an important aspect on cultivation of pre-graduate students. More chances should be created for students to visit world-famous Institutes and scholars in theoretical computer science, so that they can have academic exchange all over the world. “We have confidence to make them feel it is the best choice to stay in Tsinghua through their own experience.”

These 11 students are the luckiest and most brilliant ones. They can understand teachers’ intension. To take part in pre-graduate class means they have chosen more challenging study, a path to devote themselves to research on theoretical computer science and stay in China to do their research. Yangwei Liu, a sophomore from Tsinghua Special CS Class said: “Yao Class aims to be close to advanced educational pattern from a small number of students, and then expand to larger number of students. For us, the most important thing so far is to find a researching methodology and find our research interest as soon as possible.”

The pre-graduate class is one of most important steps of talents training combined with “deep cultivation” and “refined cultivation”. “Deep cultivation” means to set up an autarkic cultivation system from undergraduate students to researchers; “refined cultivation” means to teach every student in accordance with their aptitude. In Prof. Yao’s eyes, this is the only way to cultivate world-class computer talents in China.

Summarizing his educational conception in Tsinghua, Prof. Yao says: “We are going to set up a ‘highway’ in the field of computing and make all the students from undergraduate students to graduate students to professors feel better and more honorable to work in ITCS than any other places in the world.