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The 2020 Zhejiang Lab International Youth Talent Forum Officially Opens
Date: 2020-11-22

When young researchers from all over the world meet individually to talk about tech innovation, how inspirational is such an event; how many fantastic ideas are generated?


On November 16, the Third Zhejiang Lab International Youth Talent Forum, with “Boundless” as its theme, officially opened at the Academic Exchange Center of the Zhejiang Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City. Co-organized by Zhejiang Lab and the Management Committee of the Future Sci-Tech City, the forum promoted the idea of creating a borderless and boundless environment for science, innovation, talent, and cooperation. Focused on intelligent science and technology, it included both online and offline activities, attracting more than 1000 experts, scholars, and researchers from all over the world.


Tracking Cutting-Edge Developments in Intelligent Science and Technology

At the forum, top scientists, including Turing Award winners and members of overseas scientific academies, shared their latest insights into cutting-edge technologies such as intelligent computing, blockchain, trustworthy AI, and driverless cars. Their reports greatly inspired young researchers at the forum.


"In an intelligent era, when cyber, physical, and social systems are integrated, we need super computing power and ubiquitous intelligence to support complex data processing," said Zhejiang Lab Vice President Bao Hujun, in an interesting academic sharing entitled "What We Think and Know about Intelligent Computing". According to Bao, in the future, intelligent computing will be the integration of perception, computation, and intelligent technologies. Its paradigms will include computing for auxiliary intelligence, computing for human-like intelligence, and intelligence-driven computing. "At Zhejiang Lab, we are exploring the fundamentals, frontiers, and core technologies of intelligent computing from the perspectives of theoretical methods, architectural systems, and software and hardware systems. We expect to provide technological support for ubiquitous computing in the Intelligent Era," said Bao.


Tao Dacheng, member of the Australian Academy of Sciences and professor at the University of Sydney, gave a presentation on trustworthy AI. With the development of high-precision sensors, big data, and supercomputers, deep learning has become the core technology in the third wave of AI. Many applications based on deep learning approaches have been successfully used in real life. Professor Tao reviewed the development of deep learning theories and introduced the recent progress in theoretical research. He said that the success of deep learning mainly lies in its strong feature representation ability. However, as for its generalization ability, there are still many questions to be answered theoretically. In the next stage, in order to enable trustworthy AI, the essential problem is how to integrate human values into AI and make AI serve us effectively.


The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of this year quickly led to telecommuting and online meetings as a mainstream working style, but network latency and instability are still bothering all of us. In the post-pandemic period, what kinds of Internet reforms will arise from the development of technologies such as AI and blockchain? Turing Award winner Whitfield Diffie, a professor currently working at Zhejiang Lab and Zhejiang University, gave an online presentation entitled "The Network Thrust Upon Us". He believes that, in the short term, technologies such as machine intelligence and Human Protocol will provide us with good solutions; in the long run, technologies such as remote haptic and olfactory sensing, brain-computer interfaces, and distributed security and management will all become a reality.


Wang Gang, Chief Scientist and Head of the Autonomous Driving Lab at the Alibaba DAMO Academy, gave a presentation entitled "Unmanned Delivery for Terminal Customers: the First Step in Enabling Autonomous Driving in Real Life". With the rise of the Stay-at-Home Economy, the demand for logistics distribution is growing apace. Based on feasibility and applicability analysis, the Alibaba DAMO Academy has chosen last-mile deliveries as the first real-life application scenario for autonomous driving, so as to facilitate the logistics industry and make logistics more intelligent and efficient. By developing products such as Xiaomanlv, Wang Gang's team has successfully created a safe and intelligent autonomous logistics robot ready for mass production. "After integrating driverless cars into the logistics industry, we will enable each car to collect data, laying a solid foundation for solving more difficult problems in autonomous driving, thereby promoting the development of unmanned vehicles," said Wang.


Bringing Dynamic Young Researchers Together for Their Ambitions

"Zhejiang Lab's research plan in intelligent computing fits well with my research interest, so I came to attend this forum, hoping to communicate and discuss with more professionals in the industry," said Qin Libo, a well-known blogger in the field of artificial intelligence, and currently a Ph.D. student at the Harbin Institute of Technology. At the forum, he exhibited his research poster, which was about a semantic understanding module of task-based dialogue systems. "The lab's Vice President, Bao Hujun, just had an in-depth conversation with me. He suggested that I should employ more context information, and combine speech and video resources to carry out further research. His advice has really inspired me. The forum was totally worth the trip," said Qin.


"Zhejiang Lab is a research institution co-established by many sides. It can therefore leverage the strengths of different sides, and gather various resources and partners of various backgrounds. It can also carry out more flexible and challenging research activities without being restricted by conventional systems," said Doctor Li Shuguang, a researcher from the Wyss Institute at Harvard, and author of a cover story published in Nature. He also said that the forum has built a good platform for peer communication, which will promote research cooperation and motivate tech innovation.


The forum is a conference for young people. Focusing on intelligent computing, intelligent systems, intelligent perception, and intelligent networks, a number of young science professionals shared their recent outcomes via offline special reports and research posters. They came from research institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, the National University of Singapore, Beihang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zhejiang University, and Nanjing University. In addition, there was real time online interaction among more than 1,000 masters and doctoral students in China and abroad, covering topics such as new fiber optic microstructure devices, intelligent sensing applications, and 5G and AI-driven Communication. Young researchers in different fields but with the same ambition gathered at the forum, and talked individually about the future.


Exploring Cooperation and Building a New Platform for Talent Recruitment

Young people leave their mark on our era, which in turn provides infinite possibilities for them. "China has entered the best period for innovation and entrepreneurship, and we are about to embrace a new spring for science. As a main force for tech innovation, young researchers should have the ambition to carry out innovative research. Zhejiang Lab is willing and able to create a favorable environment and provide all kinds of support for the development of young researchers, so that our science professionals can cultivate their abilities and demonstrate their talents in major innovation projects," said Zhejiang Lab President Zhu Shiqiang in his speech at the forum. He extended a sincere invitation to science professionals in China and abroad.


To further motivate young researchers to get engaged in tech innovation, Zhejiang Lab has founded the Zhejiang Lab Young Talent Club. In addition, the lab has established the International Talent Fund for Young Professionals, aiming to encourage young researchers to carry out basic research, broaden their minds, and achieve more zero-to-one research outcomes. So far, the fund has attracted more than 200 young researchers from China and abroad, and has supported twenty-eight projects proposed by researchers from institutions such as the Technical University of Munich, the University of Tokyo, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Fudan University, and the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


The forum this year also marked the first attempt to work with Hangzhou's neighboring cities and technology companies to promote cross-regional exchanges and cooperation. At the forum, Zhejiang Lab signed strategic partnership agreements with Jiaxing, Huzhou, and Lishui. The lab will start cooperation projects with these three cities in aspects such as talent recruitment and development, industry-academia-research cooperation, research base construction, innovation platform planning, and tech achievement transformation. The Yangtze River Delta Development Alliance for Young Professionals was also established at the forum. "We proposed the initiative to establish such an alliance, hoping to leverage its advantages to enhance our cooperation with universities, research institutes, and enterprises in the Yangtze River Delta region. We can therefore create a high-level talent team in intelligent science and technology, and better fit into the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region," said Wang Chunbo, Director of the Talent Office at Zhejiang Lab.