Published: 10:22, June 13, 2024
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Xi urges more contributions to education
By Mo Jingxi and Yan Dongjie

President hails professor's achievements since returning from US 20 years ago

Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, winner of A.M. Turing Award in 2000,makes a speech on the 2nd China Fintech Conference Agenda held in Beijing on Sept 17, 2017. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

President Xi Jinping has encouraged Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, the first Chinese scientist to receive the Turing Award and a professor at Tsinghua University, to make more contributions to help the nation achieve high-level self-reliance and strength in science and technology.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark in a recent letter replying to Yao, who returned from the United States to China to commence his teaching career at Tsinghua 20 years ago.

READ MORE: Xi replies to Tsinghua professor on education, science contribution

Xi acknowledged Yao's unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements in teaching and scientific innovation over the past years, saying that Yao has channeled his love for the nation into a commitment to serve it.

In the letter, Xi expressed his hope that Yao could adhere to his original aspiration and leverage his strengths to take the lead in exploring approaches to the cultivation of innovative talent, foster interdisciplinary integration and frontier innovation, and build high-level bases for talent development and sci-tech innovation.

Such efforts would contribute to the country's drive to achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, and strengthen the country through education and science, he said.

In 2000, Yao received the Turing Award in recognition of his fundamental contributions to the theory of computation. The award is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science.

Now the 78-year-old is dean of the College of AI and also dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences of Tsinghua University. He is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In a recent letter addressed to Xi, Yao reported on his work in talent cultivation as well as scientific research and innovation since he joined the faculty at Tsinghua in 2004. Yao also expressed his determination to contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has been striving toward the goal of becoming a science and technology power, stressing the key role of talent in innovation-driven development and integrating itself into a global network of innovation.

On many occasions, President Xi has stressed the importance of respecting, cultivating, and taking care and making good use of scientific and technological talent.

ALSO READ: Xi underlines international scientific, technological innovation

Last year, the country's research and development expenditure exceeded 3.3 trillion yuan ($458.5 billion), up 8.1 percent year-on-year.

As an important indicator measuring sci-tech human resources input, the number of full-time equivalent R&D personnel in China increased from 3.247 million in 2012 to 6.354 million in 2022, according to official statistics.

Gao Xiang, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of Zhejiang University of Technology, said that Xi's reply letter fully demonstrated his high regard for sci-tech innovation as well as his care for talent working in the fields of science and technology.

Talent serves as a source of technological innovation, an important force in solving practical problems, and a key driving force in social progress, he said.

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