MIT and Shanghai to collaborate on smart city development

Professor Richard Lester, Associate Provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) met with Shanghai Vice Mayor Wu Qing recently to discuss future collaborations in smart city development.

He was on a visit to the city with Bruce Tidor, Professor of Biological Engineering and Computer Science. Accompanied by Chinese AI company SenseTime’s founder Tang Xiaoou, the two had called on the Vice Mayor and other senior city officials to build closer ties.

From left: SenseTime Deputy Chairman and President of Research Zhang Wen, SenseTime founder Tang Xiaoou, Professor Bruce Tidor, Professor Richard Lester, Vice Major Wu Qing, Deputy Director of Education Li Yongzhi, Chief Engineer of Shanghai Economic and Information Commission Zhang Ying

MIT’s ties with SenseTime is strong, given that both Founder Tang Xiaoou and its Head of Research Wang Xiaogang graduated from MIT with PhD’s. Just four weeks ago, MIT announced a new AI project call Intelligence Quest to explore the foundations of human intelligence and applying it to machines. SenseTime was the first company in the world to partake in this project, which will see it forming a MIT-SenseTime Alliance on Artificial Intelligence.

Professor Lester said that he was very honored to be able to call on Vice Mayor Wu and the city’s senior officials. He said that the earliest Chinese students in MIT arrived as far back as 1887, and since then, over 800 students have graduated from its doors, including 400 post-doctorals. Many have them have since returned to China to contribute to China’s economic development. He expects that the relationship between MIT and China will grow stronger in future, and looks forward to exploring collaborative opportunities with Shanghai and SenseTime, especially in the area of AI.

One-third of China’s AI talents are in Shanghai — Vice Mayor Wu Qing

Vice Mayor Wu welcomed the visit and said that Shanghai was working hard to be at the forefront of China’s effort to develop AI. Currently, one-third of the AI talents in China are located in Shanghai, and it is a suitable place for foreign talents to reside. Besides talent, he also said that Shanghai had the basic infrastructure, data facilities and a developed capital market for incubation and growth. He also hoped that MIT will not only cooperate with Shanghai on AI, but also in education and research, and consider the city its first choice in China for future collaborations.