On March 25, the kick-off meeting of the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project “Frontier Basic Theory and Key Technology of Artificial Intelligence - Intelligent Autonomous Systems” led by Tongji University, with the participation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University, and with CHEN Jie, President of Tongji University and academician of the China Academy of Engineering (CAE), as the Chief Scientist, was held in Shanghai Zhangjiang Artificial Intelligence Island. At the meeting, an Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) for this major project was established, consisting of ten academicians, namely: PAN Yunhe, SUN Youxian, LIU Jie, WU Manqing, FAN Bangkui, LU Jun, WU Zhiqiang, XU Yi, ZENG Zhigang and SUN Jian, as well as other renowned experts.
Project kick-off meeting
Project kick-off meeting in progress
Present at the meeting were: QIU Wenjin, Deputy Director of Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission; WANG Ye, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs); Tongji’s Party Secretary FANG Shouen; Tongji’s President CHEN Jie; JIN Li, Executive Vice President of Fudan University and academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); MAO Junfa, Vice President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and academician of the CAS and other university leaders. The heads of the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Division of the Shanghai Municipal Finance Bureau; Shanghai Investment Consulting Corporation; and Shanghai Science and Technology Venture Capital (Group) Co., Ltd were also present. The kick-off meeting was presided over by Tongji’s Vice President TONG Xiaohua.
QIU Wenjin observed that an implementation plan, led by Tongji University and jointly promoted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University, had been formed to speed up artificial intelligence (AI) innovation and development with international competitiveness. The three universities aim to be at the frontier of AI science, focus on intelligent autonomous systems, and give full play to their basic advantages and strengths. It is believed that through the implementation of this major science and technology project, Shanghai will make breakthroughs in the basic theory of AI, talent team building and the development of key technologies.
QIU Wenjin delivering a speech
In his speech, WANG Ye conveyed that AI is a strategic technology which will support China’s scientific and technological independence and self-improvement. The launch and implementation of this major project is another measure to implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s requirements to enhance Shanghai’s innovation in AI from a national strategic perspective. It is hoped the project will further explore and improve the management, exert the role of the EAC, build a strategic scientific and technological driver, and accelerate the application and demonstration of its achievements.
WANG Ye making a speech
QIU Wenjin and WANG Ye jointly issued letters of appointment to the EAC’s members. EAC will follow up on implementing the major project and provide guidance and strategic advice on its critical decisions.
Session of issuing letters of appointment to the EAC’s members
AI is a strategic technology for great powers to compete on the world stage, FANG Shouen said, adding that China’s essential strategy is to enhance its national strength. To better serve Shanghai to build a world research hub of intelligent autonomous systems, Tongji University has taken the lead to develop the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project “Frontier Basic Theory and Key Technology of Artificial Intelligence - Intelligent Autonomous Systems,” and joined hands with a group of fellow universities to make breakthroughs in the basic theory and key technology of AI. With great enthusiasm, Tongji University is willing to move forward in organizing, managing and promoting the major project together with other partners to promote Shanghai’s leading position in AI cutting-edge theoretical research, high-calibre talents pooling and industrial technology development.
FANG Shouen giving a speech
In his speech, JIN Li said Fudan University would be diligent in its efforts to support the major project, encourage scientists to be at the forefront of new research, strive to achieve the disruptive innovation of China’s new generation of “strong AI,” and endeavor to build China’s new generation of AI so as to develop Shanghai into a globally influential AI scientific and innovation center.
JIN Li making a speech
MAO Junfa said Shanghai Jiao Tong University would, under the leadership of the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission and the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, spare no effort to integrate its particular strengths to work together with Tongji University, Fudan University and other fellow universities to jointly provide solutions*, promote the consistent implementation of the major project, and contribute wisdom and strength to the construction of Shanghai’s AI hub.
MAO Junfa delivering a speech
President CHEN Jie, also Chief Scientist of the major project, described the project’s overall organization and implementation plan and briefed the participants on special management requirements. The major project will be led by Tongji University, with the participation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University, and with the collaboration of Zhejiang University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Shanghai University and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC). Closely responding to the strong demand for intelligent autonomous systems, it will focus on research in this field as well as cross-media machine intelligence and intelligence in human-cyber-physical systems (HCPSs) and swarm intelligence. It will also establish open-source and shared ecological research platforms for AI research, develop AI research support tools and systems, and build application demonstration projects for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), intelligent manufacturing, intelligent hospital and other scenarios.
Chief Scientist CHEN Jie giving a speech
Academician PAN Yunhe, Director of the EAC, Academician SUN Youxian, Deputy Director of the EAC, and the participating experts listened to the implementation plans of Task I to Task IV of the major project and gave their advice. Experts unanimously believe that AI is the new driving force to promote the information technology revolution and is the new focus of international competition. To promote the rapid development of AI, build the globally influential Shanghai Technology Innovation Center (STIC), and create national strategic science and technology strengths, the launch of the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project “Frontier Basic Theory and Key Technology of Artificial Intelligence - Intelligent Autonomous Systems” is of great significance. The major project has accurate positioning, advanced content, scientific and technical relevance and clear research objectives. The major project’s leading unit, Tongji University, its partners, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University, and the cooperating units have a good research foundation in related fields and have built an excellent talent team, providing necessary conditions to guarantee the completion of the project.
A group photo of the participants
Intelligent autonomous systems are an essential starting point for studying AI theories, methods and technologies. They have become the core technology of AI and a crucial element in scientific and technological competition among countries. Its cutting-edge breakthroughs will bring about disruptive applications in various fields and give rise to new industry and business models. It has become an important development direction and there is an urgent need to vigorously promote theoretical research and apply demonstration projects of intelligent autonomous systems in China’s AI realm.
Shanghai Research Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems
Since its’ inauguration in Tongji University two years ago under the leadership of the relevant national ministries and commissions and Shanghai Municipality, and with the support of various units, the Shanghai Research Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems (hereinafter referred to as the “Institute”) has carried out basic research, talent introduction, high-end talent training and innovative research closely linked to national AI strategies and the development of STIC. The center has made substantial progress in talent team building, serving both national strategy and local needs. It has developed platforms and built up relevant disciplines, as well as major scientific facilities, and carried out a number of influential academic achievements. It has been fully committed to play a role in the international academic development of autonomous systems and China’s key technologies. At present, the Institute has achieved considerable results, namely: a) it has welcomed a number of outstanding talents and research teams led by academicians and joined by exemplary young and middle-aged cadres who have been formed in nine research fields; b) several major research results of AI have been jointly released with Shanghai Urban Operation and Management Center; c) it has initiated the Shanghai summit discipline of “Intelligent Science and Technology” and offered a special doctoral program for this discipline; and d) as a national AI Shanghai program, the project of the Institute has been ranked as a ”Shanghai Municipal Major Construction Project” since 2020. Tongji University gives new momentum to the development of traditional disciplines with AI.
Aerial view of the Institute
Written by HUANG Aijiao
Photographed by JIANG Ping
Videoed by WU Yixiang