The symposium China Computer Science Vision 2020, opened at Tsinghua’s Institute of Theoretical Computer Science (ITCS) on the morning of October 12. The four-day symposium also marks the inauguration of the “China Computer Science 2020 Plan”, which aims to develop a first-rate computer science discipline by 2020. Tsinghua University Council Chairman Hu Heping attended the ceremony.
Fourteen leading computer scientists from such eminent institutions as Harvard University, Princeton University, MIT, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University, and Eotvos Lorand University, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and the Argonne National Laboratory, have been invited to deliver lectures on the state of computer science today and the likely shape of this discipline in ten to fifteen years. They are also providing advice on how to build a modern computer science department, starting with the fundamentals.
“It is hoped that this symposium, besides imparting valuable scientific knowledge, will shed light on China’s future road towards building a first-rate computer science discipline,” said Tsinghua University’s Turing Award winner and Director of ITCS, Professor Andrew Chi-Chih Yao.
Professor Yao came to Tsinghua in 2004. In the past five years, he and his team have largely accomplished their goals of establishing an elite undergraduate computer science program and a solid PhD program. They have also founded an excellent research center in Theoretical Computer Science.
In his address at the opening ceremony, Professor Yao noted how urgent it is to have first-rate computer science departments which can help industries become innovative and competitive at the high end. “China must have its Silicon Valley,” said Professor Yao. He unveiled the “China Computer Science 2020 Plan”, which proposes that ITCS be developed into a medium-size computer science institute not only for theory but also for general computer science. The Plan would cover a substantial part of the computer science field and aim to achieve academic excellence competitive with top ten computer science departments in the world. It also aims to help make China competitive in future IT innovation. Yao explained that these efforts would involve nurturing innovative students and other talented individuals at all levels, creating high-end intellectual properties through research by faculty members, and promoting the transfer of technology. According to the Plan, by 2020 the current research scope of ITCS will expand to ten areas, computer scientists from around the world will be recruited to increase the size of the faculty to 60, and the number of PhD students will reach 240.
Ms. Lin Huiqing, Assistant Minister of Education, and Mr. Sun Jiaguang, Vice Director of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, were also present at the event.