University drivers AI research forward

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has set up a  research institute on artificial intelligence and is involved in numerous AI projects.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University is adding more strings to its bow of becoming a key player in artificial intelligence.

It announced on Thursday that it has set up a research institute on artificial intelligence for further exploration on AI's basic theory, technology and application, such as intelligent medical care.

It is also aiming to combine AI technology with  traditional industries, such as shipbuilding and exploration of marine resources.

The institute also plans to set up a database of AI information and patents. It will form an "artificial intelligence league" with the cooperation of some foreign top universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University.

According to Mao Junfa, head of the institute, its research will be grounded on three elements — "data, algorithm and chip." It will work on developing new computational learning theory and open-source software.

The institute will also make efforts to improve the computing power of AI chips to support the development of AI products and the application of unmanned systems.

"One of our research teams is now doing a project about tiny robots which can be used for checks in patients' stomach and intestines," Mao said.

"AI technology will exist in more medical parts in the future, for example, people can see a doctor at home via remote medical diagnosis systems, doctors can diagnose with the support of Big Data and patients will be taken care of by robots."

Yu Kai, a researcher with the institute specializing in speech recognition, said the setup of the artificial intelligence research institute can help to broaden the range of their research.

Ren Teng, a Jiao Tong University graduate and co-founder of TouchPal — a mobile device keyboard with speech recognition of 128 languages — said TouchPal wants to have a deeper cooperation with the institute. He said many people in his team are Jiao Tong graduates and they have been working with  the university’s research groups for a long time.

"As an enterprise, we have Big Data and some good projects. With the institute's academic resources, I believe we can work out better results," said Ren.

The institute will also cooperate with the governments of Xuhui and Minhang districts on building "an innovative belt of artificial intelligence," the university said.

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