On August 16, the Second Zhejiang Lab International Youth Talent Forum, with “Boundless” as its theme, was officially opened in Hangzhou. Co-organized by Zhejiang Lab and the Management Committee of the Zhejiang Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City, the two-day forum aimed to build an ecosystem for scientific research that can bring a borderless and boundless environment for science, innovation, talents and cooperation, allowing young people to inspire each other’s imaginations about artificial intelligence (AI) and incubating future technologies.
More than 400 young AI scientists, entrepreneurs, masters and doctoral students gathered at the Academic Exchange Center of the Zhejiang Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City to share their opinions about the next generation of AI. They came from different universities and institutes all over the world, including well-known institutions such as Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, Waseda, Tsinghua University, Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Alibaba.
Bring Young People Together Through AI
As the most cutting-edge technology, AI is showing its strong influence to lead the development of other fields. It enables network management to become more intelligent, makes robots more powerful, and improves the performance of human-computer interaction through neural network language models. In the forum, scholars and experts from Zhejiang Lab and Alibaba DAMO Academy shared the most forefront insights about AI.
In his keynote speech entitled “PolymorphIc Networks Environment (PINE)”, Wu Jiangxing, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Zhejiang Lab’s chief scientist of cyber security, pointed out that intelligent network management is the key to improving the performance and efficacy of PINE. “With relevant AI technologies, we can realize the integrated intelligent management, transmission, and control of a network, with the entire network capable of intelligent perception, independent decision-making, and automatic execution. The connection between network nodes is multi-dimensional, adjustable, dynamic, and strong, which can make PINE the largest and an ever-expanding BIG-AI platform,” said Wu.
Wu Chen, a senior expert from Alibaba DAMO Academy, made a presentation entitled “The Research and Application of Neural Network Language Models”. He introduced the development of language models, their modeling methods, and the application of neural network language models in translation and question answering systems, presenting a gradually clear future for human-computer interaction and cognitive intelligence.
In addition to reports made by top scholars and experts, more than 400 young researchers in the forum had the opportunity for in-depth communication on three areas: intelligent perception, intelligent computing, and intelligent networks. They also greatly benefited from the 16 academic presentations in three sub-forums, which covered topics such as optical precision sensing based on interference and momentum effects, challenges and opportunities for intelligent computing, edge cloud distributed operating systems, the transformation from 5G to 6G, and cutting-edge technologies and project plans for the industrial internet. “The speech of Wu Jiangxing really inspired me. I have a deeper understanding of what a future network and an intelligent society should look like,” said Wang Zhenyong, an associate professor at the Harbin Institute of Technology.
Young and Serious
“I am not just coming for the presentations. This time I also brought with me a research project on the intelligent fault diagnosis of rolling bearings and intend to apply for Zhejiang Lab’s International Talent Fund for Young Professionals,” said Xie Shenglong, a lecturer at China Jiliang University. As early as July, when the forum started registration, Zhejiang Lab also announced the funding plan of its International Talent Fund for Young Professionals, aiming to motivate young researchers to get engaged in tech innovation and support them to explore forefront AI areas that have not been investigated previously.
Though just opening to applications for the first time, the fund has already attracted more than 200 young researchers from China and abroad. After preliminary selection, 41 young experts, masters and doctoral students, coming from top universities and research institutes such as UC Berkeley, the University of Tokyo, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and the French National Research Institute of Information and Automation, have entered the next round. They will bring along their latest research outcomes to Zhejiang Lab and compete to become one of the 30 recipients of the grant through on-site defense of their applications.
With solid academic ideas and well-prepared projects for application, young AI professionals and students expressed their ideas and discussed their projects in the most serious way. “The forum provides an interdisciplinary communication platform for young researchers. I expect this offline gathering will incubate valuable achievements from integrated innovation and boost the development of AI,” said Yue Yufeng, a researcher from Nanyang Technological University. Doctor Zhang Xiang, a graduate of New York University who shared his research on the comprehension and generation of byte-level texts in the forum, said, “AI can facilitate many industries, but currently, there is still a wall between academic communities and companies. This forum provides an effective bridge for researchers to overcome such obstacles through close communication and cooperation that can be operated offline.”
Boundless Knowledge, Endless AI
In their speeches at the opening ceremony, several officials, including Zhang Xuming (Deputy Director at the Talent Office of CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee), Mei Jiansheng (Secretary, CPC Zhejiang Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City), and Yuan Jixin (Deputy Director at Zhejiang Lab), all expressed how Zhejiang values the development of talents. They especially noted the province’s demand for young talents, saying such things as “The development of talents is one of our top priorities. We will create the best talent-friendly environment in Zhejiang”, “I will provide you with sunshine and rain, and you just need to grow”, and “we will strive to develop a first-class environment for scientific research, allowing scientists to fully concentrate on their work”.
If “intelligence” will become synonymous with this era, then AI talents are the creators of the intelligent era, and young talents represent the future of AI. “The initial goal of the forum is to connect with the world’s top AI talents. That’s why 50% of this year’s young participants come from universities and research institutes outside China. We expect this forum to open up communication channels in the field of AI from the top down, with channels inside and outside laboratories, both before and after the innovation chain. We hope it will create a boundless environment for young talents all over the world to exchange their ideas and work together to create a bright future for AI,” said Zheng Yuhua, Deputy Director of Zhejiang Lab.
As one of the lab’s platforms for academic and talent exchange, the forum is planned to be held on a regular basis. At this year’s opening ceremony the Zhejiang Lab Youth Talent Committee was also established. Its first group of members includes 47 core academic staff and technical staff from renowned universities, academic organizations, government agencies, leading tech companies, and other fields relevant to tech innovation all over the world.
“From professional perspectives, we will evaluate how Zhejiang Lab recruits young talents, approves young professionals’ project proposals, and appraises their professional levels. We will help the Lab to build an open, innovative, and borderless network, promoting multi-body collaborative innovation and facilitating young researchers to make innovative breakthroughs in the field of AI,” said Zheng Yuhua, Deputy Director of Zhejiang Lab.