Mathematics, applied research integral to new institute

Li Xinran
The Shanghai Institute for Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Sciences, chaired by Fields Medalist Shing-Tung Yau, opened in Yangpu District on January 2.
Li Xinran

The Shanghai Institute for Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Sciences, chaired by Shing-Tung Yau, was opened in Yangpu District on January 2. The institute is a new type of research and development institution that carries out activities such as mathematics and interdisciplinary research, talent introduction and cultivation, and international academic exchanges.

It is committed to achieving significant results in fundamental mathematical theory and applied research, helping to solve the bottleneck problem in China’s strategic field and leading the innovative development of high-end industries.

“Yau is a notable recipient of the Fields Medal for his work in differential geometry. He believes that the ‘bottleneck’ problem cannot be solved by targeted pursuit,” said Hu Sen, vice president of SIMIS. “Improving fundamental research and original innovation capabilities will naturally produce disruptive results.”

Hu said that cross application was equally important. In recent decades, there has been a clear trend in the mathematical community, and the impact of cross application is becoming more and more profound.

“In the 1990s, financial mathematics emerged, and Wall Street was filled with mathematical talents. The breakthrough technologies and products of artificial intelligence, such as Alpha Go, ChatGPT and big models that have been popular in the past decade, are all supported by mathematics.

Mathematics, applied research integral to new institute
Ti Gong

The Shanghai Institute for Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Sciences opens on 657 Songhu Road, Yangpu District.

“Once the application results have been demonstrated, it can receive public support, making research more effective to achieve sustainable development and form a virtuous cycle,” Hu said.

Hence, the research direction of the research institute is set as “25 percent fundamental mathematics, 25 percent applied pure mathematics, plus 50 percent interdisciplinary application,” according to Hu.

The research institute needs to benchmark against the world’s top-tier Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, and the research content must have academic value and contribute to mechanistic or common issues.

For SIMIS, it is particularly important to attract top-notch and energetic talented people in order to achieve its goals.

The research institute hopes to have 20 world-class minds in the core field of mathematics, a research team in 20 interdisciplinary fields within 10 years, and cultivate 30 to 40 young mathematicians at the forefront of international academic level, 100 postdoctoral fellows with world-class level and 500 graduate students.

A group of discipline leaders from well-known domestic universities have been confirmed to be part of the institute, with Li Jun, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of the Shanghai Mathematics Center at Fudan University, serving as the first dean.

More than 10 mathematicians from countries such as the United States, Canada and Russia will also take part, with many senior professors still engaged in research work on the front line, maintaining active creativity. Several Fields Award winners may join the research institute as full-time personnel.

Hu Minjun, deputy director of the Science and Technology Commission of Yangpu, told Shanghai Daily that academic “giants” could lure a group of young and promising professionals in mathematics and other basic disciplines to come together in Yangpu, and improve the overall level of fundamental research in the district.

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