The View From China

I’m visiting Beijing for the Pao-Lu Hsu Statistics Conference on Machine Learning.

I had several discussions about the state of Chinese research. Given the large population and economy, you might expect substantial research—more than has been observed at international conferences. The fundamental problem seems to be the Cultural Revolution which lobotimized higher education, and the research associated with it. There has been a process of slow recovery since then, which has begun to be felt in the research world via increased participation in international conferences and (now) conferences in China.

The amount of effort going into construction in Beijing is very impressive—people are literally building a skyscraper at night outside the window of the hotel I’m staying at (and this is not unusual). If a small fraction of this effort is later focused onto supporting research, the effect could be very substantial. General growth in China’s research portfolio should be expected.

4 Replies to “The View From China”

  1. I am an undergraduate from China and was present at the conference. Thank you for your advisement.
    But now ,the whole country concerns more about developing our economy then about paying our attention to other things like research.In China ,if your research has nothing to do with economy development, you will not get research foundation from the government.For instance, one of my teacher ,a professor in Nanjing University,studying programming language for quantum computing could not get money from government only because his work can not do some good to economy of Jiangsu Province in short term.Without this support, it’s hard for him to continue his work, because government research foundation is main way for Chinese researcher to get their financial support.
    This tendency does not seem to be changed in near future. Paying too much attention to superficially prosperity phenomenon such as tall building,wide road and so on is harmful to Chinese economy development in the long run and will not lead to substantial development in China.

  2. One thing to understand is that funding for research is difficult in general.

    The US interest in Quantum Computing research is greatly enhanced by the crypto breaking implications of Shor’s algorithm. If it weren’t for that, your teacher would probably have difficulty in the US also.

  3. I agree. As a Chinese people, I don’t quite like the pattern china now developing with. It’s harmful for the future. Econimics is important but not everything. The government have to improve in this.

  4. Development get something done or nothing done. That something won’t look good but the brighter side will start show up when the initial accumulation finishes.

Comments are closed.