Figure 1: UIUC Professor Wen-mei Hwu
San Francisco and Boston are usually where scientists and investors from China are hosted . Well, Urbana Champaign, the heartland of the Mid-West and the home of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is joining the pack.
A handful of Chinese scientists, investors and entrepreneurs were invited to talk at the UIUC U.S.-China Innovation & Development Forum last Saturday. The event, organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, was held at the auditorium in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
Martin Tong, the executive associate dean of UIUC College of Engineering noted that UIUC, ranks third in the U.S. in terms of Chinese student population. The school has a strong innovation tradition and close relations with China in education, research and entrepreneurship .
Lei Hong, Chinese Consul General in Chicago, was invited to give an opening remark about Sino-US collaborations in innovation.
“The Chinese government and the CPC recognize the strategic importance of innovation as the core of national economic development,” Lei Hong said. “The close relationship between Trump and Xi will enhance communications and exchanges between the US and China.”
Figure 2: Chinese Consul General in Chicago Lei Hong
Artificial intelligence (AI) was brought to the forefront as Professor Wen-Mei Hwu, the Sanders-AMD Endowed Chair of ECE at UIUC, gave a keynote speech on the innovation of computational AI. He pointed out the areas of AI with greatest potential, including cognitive applications & solutions, middleware services & libraries (cloud development, open-source innovation) and heterogeneous infrastructures.
The state-of-the-art technology has been hyped in the media over the last few years, but the the academic authority in parallel computing and computer micro-architecture indicated the challenges of AI – the limits of computing blocking the possibility of enabling the most challenging problems in industries.
“We have reached the point that any advance in our energy efficiency of engines now requires a much more sophisticated and less approximate computing model,” Professor Hwu said. “We are talking about large, large numbers, like petascale computing.”
Different from the academic, the venture capitalists focused on the application of AI in various fields. Dehai Kong, the managing partner of SVC Angel Fund, shared his opinions on whether AI is the next trend or not.
“We, as SVC Angel fund, see the trend that all industries, like factories and transportation, will build intelligent systems, from data generalization, data analysis, to intelligent decision and control actualization,” Kong said.
After the keynote speech, three different sessions were held: Entrepreneurship in the US and China, Where technology is headed and How international backgrounds succeed in the U.S.
This was the second annual UIUC Innovation & Development forum. The forum offers unique perspectives to the UIUC community, helping develop the big picture of technology innovation, wrote UIUC CSSA in an event introduction.
“UIUC has a good reputation in entrepreneurship and innovation, like Youtube and Yelp which are founded by alumni of UIUC,”said Xuran Peng, the president of UIUC CSSA. “Chinese students have also achieved big success with a bunch of entrepreneurial examples, such as HesaiTech, Jisuanke, Kujiale, etc… We think it is a good idea to combine these advantages, so that Chinese students can get to know more industrial insights from investors and professors.”
Author: Tony Peng, Synced Tech Journalist | Localized by Synced Global Team: Nick Richards