Getting Connected Through Future Internet Technology
The Li Ka-shing Foundation and Hutchison Whampoa Limited will collaborate with China’s Ministry of Education and Qing Hua University to support the research and development of the country’s next generation Internet technology. Mr Li Ka-shing has donated US$10 million to Qing Hua University to build a “Future Internet Technology Research Centre” (“the Centre”) which is expected to become the focal point for the study and development of the nation’s information technology in the 21st century. In addition to the US$10 million, a further US$5 million will be allocated by the Ministry of Education. Qing Hua University will be constructing the Centre, whereas the Ministry of Education will, through China Education Research Network (“CERNET”), be responsible for the research projects.
In the 21st century, state-of-the-art information technology will be a prerequisite for economic growth and national progress. Proven expertise in the next generation of Internet technology will enhance China’s development of science and information technology. Internet 2 has a communication speed 1000 times faster than the current Internet, and has more advanced security and resilience capabilities, and much greater capacity. It will make available a whole new range of applications including health care, national security, biomedical research, environmental monitoring, manufacturing and engineering control, and emergency response and crisis management systems.
As far as Internet 2 technology is concerned, university and educational institutions have always been taking the lead. This has been largely the result of the unique demand for high-speed transmission in educational projects, and the onus of such institutions to provide technology and trained expertise in this field. As a matter of fact, the commercial Internet we have today, was also evolved from educational institution networks emerged in the 80s.
In the international scene, over 170 universities together with the Internet industry and the government are jointly studying to develop the most advanced Internet application and technology – the Internet 2 project. Many countries in Europe and North America, and such Asian countries as Japan and Singapore, are already actively investing in Internet 2 research. China is at the initial stages, and the support of Mr Li in establishing the Centre will mean an important step forward in its progress, helping to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in IT technology.
At an official ceremony held in Beijing today (22 September 2000), Mr Li presented a cheque of US$10 million to Wang Dazhong, Chancellor of Qing Hua University, for the establishment of the Centre. Mr Li said: “Asia is lagging behind Western countries in the first generation Internet in areas of research and application. In the development of future Internet technology however, I believe we can narrow the gap. IT will become part of our daily lives, and very soon the usage of 3rd generation mobile phone and Internet 2 will become everybody’s daily routines. The development of data transmission and of both software and hardware are new challenges to current academic research and business applications.” After the ceremony, Mr Li visited the university’s science centre and communicated with Internet users in a chatroom.
The Centre, built by Qing Hua University, will occupy an area of some 30,000 sq m. It will be equipped with all the state-of-the-art research and development facilities necessary for successful completion of the project and will synthesise all current related projects. In addition to serving as the operations and demonstration centre for China’s Internet 2 development, the Centre will become a base for the nation’s research into other new areas of innovative IT technology and for the development of applications systems. It will also provide links to Internet 2 in the US and other worldwide advanced networks.
Cheung Kong Scholars Programme Recruiting international intellectuals for China
During Mr Li Ka-shing’s visit to Beijing, he also attended the award presentations for the second “Cheung Kong Scholars Programme” (“the Programme”) and the third batch of specially appointed professors and lecturers, demonstrating his support for the country’s campaign of “development of national prosperity through science and technology”. Attending guests were State Council Vice Premier Li Lanqing, Ministry of Education Minister Chen Zhili, Vice Minister Wei Yu, and the Programme’s adjudication specialist Professor Yang Zhenning. Vice Premier Li thinks the speeding up of University standards enhancement and intellectuals creation are well demonstrated by the Programme.
Established in August 1998, the Programme is also initiated by Mr Li with a donation of HK$60 million made to the Ministry of Education. The purpose of the Programme is to recruit young outstanding academics, whether from the mainland or overseas, to contribute to the advancement of the country’s higher education and to nurture young minds to become academic leaders of international standards. Its ultimate objective is to improve the country’s standard of education and intellectual competitiveness. Since its inception, important progress was made. The Programme has successfully attracted a large group of overseas Chinese to return to China to work in academic and research posts.
The Programme has been responsible for setting up specially appointed professor posts at various universities throughout China and received a donation of HK$10 million from Mr Li. It has also created the “Cheung Kong Scholar’s Achievement Award” which gives recognition to academics who have made an outstanding achievement in their field of research. This year’s award winner is Dr Shu Degan from China’s Northwest University whose research was on the earliest known vertebrate – Myllokunmingia. His thesis on animal fossils has changed the recognised date of the origin of vertebrate species (including man) by a good 50 million years earlier, making a significant contribution to the study of the origin of vertebral animals.