Wei Zhao, American University of Sharjah, UAE
- Future of Computing
In this talk, we examine potential developments in the field of computing.
Recall that Computer Science is defined as the science of algorithms.
The development of computer science and its applications have relied on
two cornerstones: Mathematical logic and semiconductor technology.
Computing, i.e., execution of an algorithm, is a process of evaluating
a logical expression; by the principles of mathematical logic, all logical
expression is a combination of simple logical operations, namely,
"and", "or", and "not". Thanks to semiconductor technology, these
logical operations can be implemented in a substantial manner with
high density, high reliability, and low cost.
Based on these two cornerstones, the complexity theory has been the
major theoretical development of Computer Science. According to this theory,
computing problems can be classified as "easy" and "hard".
Easy ones are those in which the computation time is bounded by a polynomial
of input size. The majority of computing applications today are
in this category. In the future, we must focus on hard problems.
One approach is to use non-semiconductor-based physical devices;
initial work in quantum computers would fall within this category.
Another approach is to develop heuristic algorithms with much lower complexity;
this is very much an objective of "Artificial Intelligence" development.
The third approach is to leverage properties inherently located within
input data, hence improving the computation efficiency.
An internationally renowned scholar, Professor Wei Zhao is currently serving
the American University of Sharjah as its Chief Research Officer.
From 2008 to 2018, he served as the eighth Rector (i.e., President) of
the University of Macau. Professor Zhao also served as the Dean of
the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Director for the Division of Computer and Network Systems in the
U.S. National Science Foundation, and Senior Associate Vice President
for Research at Texas A&M University.
Professor Zhao completed his undergraduate studies in Physics at
Shaanxi Normal University, China, in 1977, and received his MSc and
PhD degrees in Computer and Information Sciences at the
University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1983 and 1986, respectively.
An IEEE Fellow, Professor Zhao has made significant contributions in
cyber-physical system, distributed computing, real-time systems,
computer networks, and cyberspace security.
He led the effort to define research agenda of and to create the
very first funding program for cyber-physical systems,
when he served as the NSF CNS Division Director in 2006.
His research group has received numerous awards.
Their research results have been adopted in the standard of SAFENET
(Survivable Adaptable Fiber Optic Embedded Network).
In 2011, he was named by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology
as the Chief Scientist of the national 973 Internet of Things Project.
Professor Zhao was awarded the Lifelong Achievement Award by the
Oversea Chinese Association of Science and Technology in 2005.
In 2007, he was honored with the Overseas Achievement Award by
the Chinese Computer Federation.
Professor Zhao has been conferred honorable doctorates by 12 universities
in the world and academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences.