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Prof. Yao attends 2011 International Forum on Higher Education

October 24,2011

The 2011 International Forum on Higher Education co-organized by the Chinese Association of Higher Education and Chongqing Municipal Government opened at Chongqing on October 23, 2011. Prof. Yao, Dean of Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS), Tsinghua University and Chair Professor of “Tsinghua Xuetang Special Pilot CS Class” joined the forum and gave the talk “New Concept on Nurturing Top- notch Innovative Talents”.

Prof. Yao shared his experiences in nurturing top-notch innovative talents at Tsinghua University over the past 7 years. He introduced the talent cultivation program of Yao Class, its innovative research achievement in particular. “Our students are very excellent. Some are even more open-minded than me,” Prof. Yao remarked on Yao Class students innovation in solving problems. So far, Yao Class students have published 45 papers during undergraduate studies. Yao Class students have been corresponding authors or main contributors of 29 papers. Some have been invited to present their research in top international academic conferences, including DEXA 2008, CIKM2009, IEEE GLOBECOM 2010, ICDM 2011, WWW 2011, and SOSP 2011, which have shown their research passion and potentials. Prof. Yao is confident that well succeed as there are a large number of talented people in China.   


Besides 18 core courses, Yao Class has set up a model for cultivating innovative talents in accordance with their aptitude and developed an extensive international teaching program. Prof. Yao believes that it’s important to promote the bond between talent cultivation and national enterprises. Thus, an exclusive scholarship for Yao Class students has been set up by Baidu to provide a special research platform, on which senior researchers would supervise Yao Class students in problems related to search engines.


By the end of his talk, Prof. Yao shared a story from one of his lectures at the Mathematics for Computer Science course. During his discussion with freshmen about the Byzantine Generals Problem, he said that it’s a critical problem in computer science system and quite difficult to solve. To his surprise, 3 groups of students came up with 3 solutions, 1 being a new and simple answer. Prof. Yao encouraged the student to note down the idea in paper to be published in one top journal.


Prof. Amy Wang, IIIS Deputy Dean and Director of “Tsinghua Xuetang Special Pilot CS Class” also joined the forum together with Mr. Yubo Du, Vice Minister of Education, Prof. Heping Hu, Secretary of the Party Committee of Tsinghua Unviersity, Mr. Yuanqing Zhou, Former Vice Minister of Education, Mr. Bernard Hugonnier, Deputy-Director of the Directorate for Education in OECD, Mr. Kelein Everest,Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Public Orator of University of Liverpool and Mr. David Law, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Edge Hill. More than 600 participants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, US, UK and Australia joined the 3-day forum on the theme “improving the quality of higher education and building a world-class education system”.