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ZJU College of Computer Science's Strategic Path Towards Excellence

By Yu Liu

The era of big data is on the rise. The development of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things has entered the fast lane. Blockchain is leading a new round of technological and industrial change. In addition to capitalizing on existing resources, the School of Computer Science of Zhejiang University probes outwards and digs deeper into resource expansion. In recent years, it has attracted more than 400 million RMB external resources and constantly explored new paths of development.

Since its inception 40 years ago, the School of Computer Science has trained 4 academicians and numerous industry leaders, while 12 faculty members have been awarded the 70th Anniversary Commemorative Medal to celebrate the founding of the People's Republic of China. The school has established two first-class disciplines that have been rated A+ and deemed as double first-class. It is also the home to the State Key Lab of CAD & CG, the National Train Intelligent Engineering Technology Research Center, and 12 provincial and ministerial key laboratories / engineering technology research centers. According to the statistics from Essential Science Indicators (ESI), the computer science discipline of Zhejiang University ranks in the top 1‰ in the world.

Adhering to the motto of people-oriented, harmony and flexibility, ZJU School of Computer Science strives to meet national strategic demands, innovate service systems, explore modern governance, serve regional development and advance to greater excellence.


From Reaction to Proactive Action

During his speech on Blockchain technology at the study session of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, Academician Chen Chun said: In the future, we need to fight for the leading initiative in the development of blockchain technology. In particular, we need to strengthen scientific and technological research in the field of consortium blockchain technology, establish collaboration between universities and research institutes, and promote the construction of open source communities and talent teams.

Zhejiang University Blockchain Research Center was born with the vision of “domestic production, autonomy and controllability”. The research center aims to integrate computer, software, mathematics, economics, finance, management and other multidisciplinary talents to contribute to China's independent and controllable blockchain technology development.


Chen Chun, Professor at Zhejiang University, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering


In the past, when cooperating with enterprises, the school often waited for the enterprise to lead and participated in the form of short-term cooperation. Often, a professor or a team independently completed the task. The projects often stopped at completion, so subsequent long-term development was difficult. In response to this problem, the school’s new strategy is to break the old pattern by setting up a joint fund when collaborating with large enterprises, publish research projects to the entire faculty and mobilize the strength of the whole school to form a good cooperative ecosystem. Overall, this makes research institutes more long-lasting and effective. The passive situation is a thing of the past.

This is the best cooperation model I have come into contact with since I graduated from Zhejiang University, said Professor Bu Jiajun, deputy director of the Alibaba-Zhejiang University Joint Research Institute of Frontier Technologies. Our cooperation with Alibaba has become the paradigm of this model.


Zhejiang University and Alibaba Group signs strategic cooperation agreement


ZJU and Alibaba jointly incubated the video orientation conversion technology, which helps process 150,000 short videos on Youku every day; the virtual assistant Li Zhi captivated audiences’ attention at NeuroIPS2018, a top conference in the field of artificial intelligence; since the short video bot “Alibabawood” was launched, it has produced more than 1.5 million videos and served over 200,000 sellers, generating millions in revenue.

These results are all from the Alibaba-Zhejiang University Joint Research Institute of Frontier Technologies, which has formed 7 joint laboratories, and gathered a crew of more than 60 researchers from Zhejiang University and abroad.

Starting from the initial market demand exploration, both the school and the enterprise have participated in the process. Results have been remarkable, and practical research results were made. At the same time, the enterprises provided ample data for scientific research, a suitable testing environment, and highly realistic development needs.

In addition to the Alibaba-Zhejiang University Joint Research Institute of Frontier Technologies, the school has also promoted the establishment of joint research centers with Huawei, Hikvision, Kujiale, Runge Group, and Zhujiayi, raising hundreds of millions in research fund.


From the Old Ways to New Territory

In terms of cooperation with local governments, the School of Computer Science continuously explores new models, strives for a new scientific research ecosystem, and assures innovation vitality to achieve a win-win situation for all parties.

Darwin II, the neuromorphic brain chip developed by the School of Computer Science, was officially released on August 26th, 2019. The successful development of the Darwin II chip has filled the gap of 100,000-level neuron-scale neuromorphic brain chips in China. At the 2019 AIIA artificial intelligence developer conference, the Tianshu artificial intelligence open source open platform was released. Based on the global time-series big dataset and correlation analysis of complex indicators, the Real-time processing technology, platform and application of streaming big data project won Special Prize in the 2019 Chinese Institute of Electronics Progress Awards. These are all major achievements in the new scientific research ecosystem.


Brain-like computing chip Darwin II


The Zhijiang Lab, established in 2017, is jointly organized by the Zhejiang Provincial People's Government, Zhejiang University, and Alibaba Group. It has become a major scientific research and innovation platform in the province. In the fields of artificial intelligence and network information, the college has carried out in-depth cooperation with Zhijiang Laboratory to jointly tackle major technological challenges and large-scale infrastructure construction, achieving outstanding results in the past two years.


Zhijiang Lab


In 2019, the school teamed up with the Xiaoshan District Government to establish the ZJU Research Institute of Innovative Computer Technology. The ZJU Computing Innovation Technology Center was also created. It is a hub of innovation, profitability and development that joins schools, governments, departments and enterprises. The institute is mainly responsible for engaging talents and conducting research. It has 4 research centers and has now become the school’s platform for implementing major engineering projects. The innovation technology center is the main body of the institute's marketization and industrialization operations and implements the “dual engine” development model.

At present, the research institute is developing rapidly in the transformation of scientific research results. Murui Technology (a company under the Intelligent Manufacturing Research Center) has reached 20 million in production value in less than one year. Of the 6 companies under the Intelligent Medical Research Center, 3 of them had initial investment over 10 million RMB. The institute integrates cutting-edge high-precision technology to meet industry's latest demands, combines pure technology with growing enterprises, and strives to become an entrepreneurial business incubator and accelerator that stimulates the growth of enterprises.

Computer Innovation Technology Institute co-established by Zhejiang University and Xiaoshan People's Government


In addition, the school is also exploring scientific research and talent cooperation with local governments at the county level. The Institute of Artificial Intelligence of the school collaborated with the Deqing County People's Government to help develop Deqing's new generation of artificial intelligence, emphasizing the themes of AI empowerment, education, innovation leadership and school-industry partnership.

Through the establishment of the Alliance of Emerging Engineering Education for Information Technologies, the school and local governments have created artificial intelligence training bootcamps and Huawei artificial intelligence talent training bases and organized the Moganshan Forum on Artificial Intelligence Talents in universities and the Frontier Information Technology Conference at the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Moreover, the school hosted the Intel Cup Chinese Postgraduate Artificial Intelligence Innovation Competition Finals and the China Collegiate Computing Contest – Artificial Intelligence Innovation Contest. The school also co-established an intelligent processing center of medical data with Hikvision.

In addition to the collaborations within Zhejiang Province, the School of Computer Science has also teamed with Yantai in Shandong Province to explore a lightweight model for long-distance cooperation.


The College of Computer Science and Technology educates future leaders in computer science with interdisciplinary innovation capabilities to address global challenges in the AI2.0 world.