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AI Graduate School to Take the Lead in Shaping the Future of AI
KAIST opened its AI Graduate School on August 26 with its first cohort of 22 Master’s and 10 PhD students for the 2019 fall semester. The new graduate school will provide students with a multidisciplinary curriculum incorporating the five key fields of healthcare, autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, security, and emerging technologies, and will offer 18 courses this semester. KAIST was selected as one of the first three AI graduate schools that the Korean government will financially endorse to nurture top-tier AI specialists. The government will provide 9 billion KRW and KAIST will invest an additional 4.2 billion KRW in the school over the next five years. KAIST aims to foster top-tiered AI engineers who will work for advancing emergent technologies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The school will produce original technologies by driving high-risk, innovative AI research projects and will be the main supplier of highly competent engineers who will lead the industry and advance the global market. KAIST has a long history of AI research and has a top-level AI education and research infrastructure. In 1990, KAIST launched the first AI research center in Korea. Since then, KAIST has taken the lead in the field by making breakthroughs in intelligent sensing information systems and AI platforms. About 20 percent of the faculty members at KAIST, or about 120 professors, are conducting AI-related research while offering 136 AI-related courses. The Dean of the AI Graduate School, Song Chong, said, “Our faculty members are the cream of the crop and are all in their early 40s. Although we started with only eight professors, we will employ 20 full-time professors by 2023 and will spare no effort to make the world’s best AI research hub and develop the brightest minds.” Dean Chong said that three professors are already listed in the top ten when measured by the number of publications from the top two AI conferences, Neural Information Processing System (NIPS) and ICML (International Conference on Machine Learning). KAIST has several highly recognized faculty members who have published more than 10 NIPS/ICML papers over nine years, winning numerous awards including the ACM Sigmetrics Rising Star Award, Google AI Focused Research Award, and INFORMS Applied Probability Best Publication Award. The number of students attempting to gain admission to the school is also very high. The admission office said that the percentage of applicants being offered admission stood at 9.1 percent. From next year, the school plans to increase the number of enrollments to 40 Master’s and 20 PhD students. The school will also open the AI Graduate School Research Center in Songnam City next month and expand its collaboration with local companies in the Songnam and Pangyo region, both emerging techno and ICT valleys. With the placement of 60 research personnel in the center, the school plans to play a leading role in building the companies’ technical competitiveness. The government’s keen interest was well highlighted with the attendance of many dignitaries including the Mayor of Daejeon City Tae-Jong Huh, Vice Minister of Science and ICT Won-Ki Min, and National Assemblyman Sang-Min Lee. KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin stressed the importance of AI as a growth engine, saying, “AI will be a game changer and a key enabler of major industries. But the winner takes all in industry. Therefore, without producing the world’s top technology, we will not survive in the global market. To foster highly competitive specialists who will take the lead in this industry, we will educate students who can converge multiple disciplines and contribute to national growth and beyond in the years ahead.”
Wearable Robot 'WalkON Suit' Off to Cybathlon 2020
Standing upright and walking alone are very simple but noble motions that separate humans from many other creatures. Wearable and prosthetic technologies have emerged to augment human function in locomotion and manipulation. However, advances in wearable robot technology have been especially momentous to Byoung-Wook Kim, a triplegic for 22 years following a devastating car accident. Kim rejoiced after standing upright and walking again by putting on the ‘WalkON Suit,’ the wearable robot developed by Professor Kyoungchul Kong’s team. Even more, Kim won third prize in the powered exoskeleton race at Cybathlon 2016, an international cyborg Olympics hosted by ETH Zurich. Now Kim and Professor Kong’s team are all geared up for the Cybathlon Championship 2020. Professor Kong and his startup, Angel Robotics, held a kickoff ceremony for Cybathlon 2020 at KAIST on June 24. The 2020 championship will take place in Switzerland. Only pilots with complete paralysis of the legs resulting from spinal cord injuries are eligible to participate in the Cybathlon, which takes place every four years. Pilots compete against each other while completing everyday tasks using technical assistance systems in six different disciplines: a brain-computer interface race, a functional electrical stimulation bike race, a powered arm prosthesis race, a powered leg prosthesis race, a powered exoskeleton race, and a powered wheelchair race. The 2016 championship drew 66 pilots from 56 teams representing 25 countries. In the powered exoskeleton race, pilots complete everyday activities such as getting up from a sofa and overcoming obstacles such as stairs, ramps, or slopes and up to four pilots compete simultaneously on tracks to solve six tasks; and the pilot that solves the most tasks in the least amount of time wins the race. (Kim, a triplegic for 22 years demonstrates walking and climbing the stairs (below photo) wearing the WalkOn Suit during the media day on June 21 at KAIST.) Kim, who demonstrated walking and climbing the stairs wearing the WalkON Suit during the media day for the Cybathlon 2020 kickoff ceremony on June 21 at KAIST, said, “I have been confined to a wheelchair for more than 20 years. I am used to it so I feel like the wheelchair is one of my body parts. Actually, I don’t feel any big difficulties in doing everyday tasks in wheelchair. But whenever I face the fact that I will never be able to stand up with my own two legs again, I am so devastated.” He continued, “I still remember the day when I stood up with my own two legs by myself after 22 years. It was beyond description.” The market for wearable robots, especially for exoskeleton robots, is continuing to grow as the aging population has been a major challenge in almost every advanced country. The global market for these robots expects to see annual growth of 41.2% to 8.3 billion US dollars by 2025. Healthcare wearable robots for the elderly and rehabilitation take up the half of the market share followed by wearable robots for industrial and defense purposes. Professor Kong from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his colleagues have developed two wearable robot systems in 2014: The "WalkON Suit" for complete paraplegics and “Angel Suit” for those with partial impairment in walking ability such as the elderly and rehabilitation patients. Professor Kong said after 15 years of basic research, the team is now able to develop its own distinct technologies. He said their robots are powered by non-resistant precision drives with algorithms recognizing the user’s moving intention. Incorporated with prosthetic devices technology from the Severance Rehabilitation Hospital, their control technology has led to the production of a customizable robot suit optimized for each user’s physical condition. The WalkON Suit, which boasts a maximum force of 250 Nm and maximum rotation speed of 45 RPM, gives the user high-energy efficiency modeled after the physiology of the human leg. It allows users to walk on flat ground and down stairs, climb up and down inclines, and sit and lie down. Currently the battery lasts five to six hours for locomotion and the approximate 25 kg of robot weight still remains a technical challenge to upgrade. Professor Kong’s team has grafted AR glass technology into the WalkOn Suit that one of his pilots put on for the torch relay of the PyongChang Paralympics in 2018. His team is now upgrading the WalkON Suit 4.0 for next year’s competition. Severance Rehabilitation Hospital will help the seven pilots with their training. Professor Kong said his goal is to make robots that can make people with disabilities much more independent. He stressed, “Wearable robots should be designed for each single user. We provide a very good graphical user interface so that we can design, check, and also verify our optimized design for users’ best performance.” (Seven pilots and Professor Kong (fifth from left in second row) pose with guests who joined the Cybathlon 2020 kickoff ceremony. President Shin (fifth from right) made a congratulatory remarks during the ceremony.)
KAIST-KU Joint Research Center for Smart Healthcare & Transportation
(President Shin shakes hands with KU acting Presidedent Arif Al Hammdi at the KAIST-KU Joint Research Center opening ceremony on April 8.) KAIST opened the KAIST-Khalifa University Joint Research Center with Khalifa University on April 8. The opening ceremony was held at Khalifa University and was attended by President Sung-Chul Shin and Khalifa University Acting President Arif Al Hammadi. The new research center reflects the evolution of the long-established partnership between the two institutions. The two universities have already made very close collaborations in research and education in the fields of nuclear and quantum engineering. The launch of this center expanded their fields of collaboration to smart healthcare and smart transportation, key emerging sectors in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. President Shin signed an MOU with the UAE Minister of State for Advanced Science Sarah Amiri and Khalifa University to expand mutual collaboration in technology development and fostering human capital last year. The center will conduct research and education on autonomous vehicles, infrastructure for autonomous vehicle operation, wireless charging for electric vehicles, and infrastructure for electric autonomous vehicles. As for smart healthcare, the center will focus on healthcare robotics as well as sensors and wearable devices for personal healthcare services. President Shin, who accompanied a research team from the Graduate School of Green Transportation, said, “We are very delighted to enter into this expanded collaboration with KU. This partnership justifies our long-standing collaboration in the areas of emerging technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution while fostering human capital.” KU Acting President Arif Al Hammadi added, “The outcome of these research projects will establish the status of both institutions as champions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, bringing benefits to our communities. We believe the new research center will further consolidate our status as a globally active, research-intensive academic institution, developing international collaborations that benefit the community in general.”
KAIST Unveils Vision 2031, a Blueprint for KAIST's Future
(Participants at the Vision 2031 Declaration Ceremony pose after the ceremony on March 20.) KAIST presented a blueprint for KAIST’s future, “Vision 2031” looking toward its 60th anniversary. The strategic development plan for a “Global Value-Creative Leading University” aims at being one of the top universities in the world by the year 2031. Unveiling its 2031 Vision, KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin presented the three-stage, five-year action plan during a ceremony held on March 20. He stressed that innovation in the five pillars of education, research, technology commercialization, globalization, and future strategy will further advance the excellence of KAIST, to help it become a trailblazer in Korea and beyond. President Shin said that Vision 2031 holds a special meaning, as the full support of the KAIST community was garnered to complete this shared vision for KAIST. Approximately 140 members of the Vision Committee participated in the brainstorming process over the past ten months for reaching this vision. The committee went through consensus building procedures of public hearings engaging all of the stakeholders on campus as well as outside experts. The committee published “Vision 2031: KAIST’s Future Report” this month, detailing the action plan of innovation strategies for reaching its new vision as well as an expanded budget funding plan to secure 2 trillion KRW by 2031, up from the current 860 billion KRW. First, in education, KAIST will foster creative leaders who will translate the knowledge created by science and technology into social values. In research, KAIST will conduct research projects to address both national and global challenges. KAIST will pursue becoming an entrepreneurial university that will enrich its technological value. In globalization innovation, KAIST will move forward to serve as a world bridge. Lastly, KAIST will steer toward the ‘What’ (problem definition) over the ‘How’ (problem solving) for addressing challenges in pursuing future strategy innovation. The ceremony was held in Chung Kunmo Hall, in the newly opened the Academic Cultural Complex, with an attendance of more than 300 distinguished guests including global leaders in higher education, government, and industry, as well as from KAIST community. Noted participants from abroad included KAIST President’s Advisory Council members such as Former President of ETH Zurich Rlaph Eichler, President of HKUST Tony Chan, President-elect Kazuya Masu of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Former President of the National University of Singapore Tan Chorh Chuan, Nobel laureate Professor Kurt Wuthrich of the Scripps Research Institute, and Professor Klaus von Klitzing from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. Former KAIST Presidents including Dr. Nam-Pyo Suh, Chairman of JoongAng Holdings Seok-hyun Hong, Elsevier Chairman Youngsuk Chi, KISWE Mobile Executive Chairman Jeong H. Kim also attended the ceremony. In honor of the Vision 2031 declaration, KAIST is hosting 25 events during Vision Week from March 19 to 23 across the campus including academic forums, distinguished lectures, exhibits, and a coding challenge, among others. The opening of the Academic Cultural Center, an iconic building accommodating the new library, Cultural Building, and Vision Hall, launched Vision Week on Monday, March 19. KAIST also dedicated Chung Kunmo Hall in the Academic Cultural Complex, a 300-seat capacity multi-purpose hall in honor of Professor Keun-Mo Chung, who played an instrumental role in founding KAIST in 1971. Professor Chung submitted the proposal to US Aid to establish KAIST in 1969. US Aid asked the vice-president of Stanford University at the time, Frederick Terman, to conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of KAIST. The Terman Report, approving the founding of KAIST, was published in 1970 and KAIST was founded the next year. Following the dedication of Terman Hall in 2004, KAIST has now inducted its two founding figures. “We had the guidebook of the Terman Report back then. We faithfully accomplished the initial mission and goals the Terman Report contained. At this critical juncture of the new global environment, we need to establish a new vision to continue to develop. As much as the Terman Report drove us to our current success, I hope the Vision 2031 KAIST Future Report will advance KAIST to its new chapter,” President Shin said. Stressing that the ideal KAISTian is defined by the 3C spirit: Challenge, Creativity, and Caring, President Shin said, “Members of KAIST are expected to embrace challenges, generate creative ideas, and care for others. By recommitting to the five innovation strategies equipped with the KAIST spirit, KAIST will emerge as one of the top universities of science and technology by the year 2031 and contribute to the happiness and prosperity of humankind. I hope KAIST will be a great source of pride for Koreans and lay the foundation for Korea to take the lead in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
KAIST to Host the THE Innovation & Impact Summit in 2019
KAIST and Times Higher Education (THE) agreed to co-host the THE Innovation & Impact Summit at KAIST from April 1 to 3, 2019. Global leaders from higher education, government, and industry will gather at KAIST to discuss how universities can better innovate for creating a greater impact. (from left: THE Managing Director Trevor Barratt and KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin) President Sung-Chul Shin and Trevor Barratt, managing director at the THE, signed an agreement to host the 2019 THE Innovation & Impact Summit at KAIST next April. The agreement was signed on February 6 during the THE Asia Universities Summit held at SUSTech in Shenzhen in China. Phil Baty, editorial director at the THE was also present during the agreement. By hosting the 2019 THE Innovation & Impact Summit, KAIST has a chance to introduce its innovative research and performance and its educational environment and startup ecosystem to the world. Having educational and industrial leaders meet at KAIST will add more power to the global status and capacity of KAIST. The THE Innovation & Impact Summit, first held in 2017, is one in the seven presidential summit series held by THE. During the second summit at KAIST, THE will launch their world university innovation rankings for the first time. As innovation at universities and its impact have been a crucial indicator in building an institutional brand and reputation, leading universities are gearing up to encourage startups and entrepreneurship education. Even more, innovation at universities is emerging as one of the growth engines of economies. The innovation indicators of KAIST have been highly recognized by many global ranking institutions in terms of the volume of patents and the patents-to-article citation impact. Thomson Reuters has recognized KAIST for two consecutive years as the most innovative university in Asia, and sixth in the world. President Shin has high expectations for the hosting of the Innovation & Impact Summit at KAIST. He explained, “Innovation makes up the DNA of KAIST and it has been our institutional mission from the start in 1971. KAIST was commissioned to make innovation for industrialization and economic development through education and research. I do not see any university more suitable than KAIST to host this innovation summit. I hope the summit at KAIST will serve as a global platform to provide very creative ideas for making innovation and collaboration among the leading universities for all the participants.” Meanwhile, at the THE Asia Universities Summit in Shenzhen, how to respond to the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution was the key agenda piercing the two-day sessions. As a panelist, President Shin shared his experiences on innovative strategies viable for spearheading university reform for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, along with Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield Sir Keith Burnett, President of Monash University Margaret Gardner, and President of Hong Kong Polytechnic University President Timothy W. Tong. He said that universities should foster young talents by equipping them with creativity, collaboration, and convergent minds. To swiftly respond to the new industrial environment, President Shin said that universities should remove the high barriers between departments and establish cross- and inter-disciplinary education systems, convergence research and technology commercialization.
WEF-KAIST to Host a Forum Next April in Korea
(President Shin poses with Chairman Schwab at the meeting in Dubai) President Sung-Chul Shin and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum agreed to co-host the Fourth Industrial Revolution Forum next April in Seoul during a meeting at the WEF Global Future Councils 2017 held in Dubai November 11-12. Next April’s forum will be a follow-up event of the roundtable discussion KAIST and the WEF Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution co-hosted in October in Seoul. The two hosted the roundtable discussion titled “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Future of Jobs and Inclusive Growth in Korea.” During the annual meeting in Dubai, Chairman Schwab expressed his deep appreciation to President Shin for hosting the roundtable discussion and proposed a full-fledged forum in partnership with KAIST once again, which Chairman Schwab will be scheduled to attend. Chairman Schwab emphasized once again that Korea, who has the world’s top high-end technologies such as 5G telecommunications and semiconductor memory, will be the best fit to realize the Fourth Industrial Revolution most rapidly. He also expressed his great interest in the city of Daejeon in which is being considered to become the Special City for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Global Future Council of the WEF is the interdisciplinary knowledge network dedicated to promoting innovative thinking on the future. The annual council convenes in Dubai the most relevant and knowledgeable thought leaders from academia, government, business, and civil society to challenge conventional thinking and develop new insights and perspectives on key global systems, as well as the impact and governance of key emerging technologies. This year, more than 850 world-leading experts from 74 countries participated. Under the theme of ‘Vision 2030,’ participants explored systematic changes in key areas such as energy, mobility, and infrastructure while reflecting on the impact of technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and other areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Global ITTP Graduates 12 Public Officials from 11 Countries
The 18th Global Information and Telecommunication Technology Program (ITTP) graduated 12 public officials from 11 countries in a commencement ceremony held on August 23. Distinguished guests, faculty, and family of graduates including President Sung-Chul Shin, the Chair of the School of Business and Technology Youngsun Kown, and the Director of Global ITTP Jaejung Rho attended the commencement. Ghana Ambassador Joseph Agoe, Mrs. Lyudmila Fen, the spouse of Uzbekistan Ambassador Vitali Fen, and other dignitaries came to congratulate the 12 master’s students on their successful graduation. The Global ITTP was launched in 2006 and offers customized master’s and doctoral degree programs to elite public officials from diverse countries on information and communication technology. This program plays a vital role for transferring Korea’s advanced ICT to countries whose industries are in the budding stages. Since 2006, the program has produced 181 alumni (48 PhDs and 133 masters) from 60 countries. In his congratulatory message during the ceremony, President Shin congratulated the graduates on the long journey they had been through while completing their courses and welcomed the newest addition of KAIST 12 alumni. “Back in the 1960s, Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Korea’s GDP stood at less than 100 US dollars. Through it all, Korean companies are now taking the lead in the global high-tech market, emerging as movers and shakers. I believe that ‘VIP’ changed it all; in other words, visionary leaders, innovative ideas, and passionate people all combined to make the difference in Korea,” said President Shin. He also shared a new formula for success in the wake of the new industrial environment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the graduates who will soon begin a new ambitious professional journey in their countries. “I think Innovation, Collaboration, and Speed will be the key words to make a difference in every sector of each and every country in this dynamic new era. When making a national development strategies, please keep in mind ‘ICS’ for the development of your country as well as the world’s sustainable development.” Finally, he said, “As a KAIST alumnus, always be sincere wherever you work and whatever you do during your service. I advise you to become a leader who is doing one’s best at all times.” ☞ Link to the 18th commencement address
2017 KAIST Research Day Honors Professor Hoon Sohn
The 2017 KAIST Research Day recognized Professor Hoon Sohn of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as Research Grand Prize Awardee in addition to the 10 most distinguished research achievements of the past year. The Research Grand Prize recognizes the professor whose comprehensive research performance evaluation indicator is the highest over the past five years. The indicator combines the factors of the number of research contracts, IPR, royalty income, as well as research overhead cost inclusion. During the ceremony, which was held on May 23, Professor Jun-Ho Oh of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering also won the Best Research Award. The two professors had the best scores when evaluating their research performance for one-year periods. Meanwhile, the Research Innovation Award went to Professor YongKeun Park of the Department of Physics. The Research Innovation Award scores the factors of foreign patent registration, contracts of technological transfer and income from technology fees, technology consultations, and startups and selected Professor Park as the top winner. Professors Yong Hee Lee of the Department of Physics and Jonghwa Shin of the Department of Material Science won the Convergence Research Award. The Convergence Research Award recognizes the most outstanding research team who created innovative research results for a year. After the ceremony, President Chen Shiyi of the Southern University of Science and Technology gave a distinguished lecture on the “Global & Entrepreneurial Universities for the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” the Research Day ceremony, KAIST also presented the ten most distinguished research achievements made by KAIST professors during the last year as follows (Click): ▲ Commercialization of 3D Holographic Microscopy by Professor YongKeun Park of the Department of Physics ▲ Designer Proteins with Chemical Modifications by Professor Hee-Sung Park of the Department of Chemistry ▲ Lanthanum-Catalyzed Synthesis of Microporous 3D Graphene-Like Carbons in a Zeolite Template by Professor Ryong Ryoo of the Department of Chemistry ▲ Complete Prevention of Blood Loss by Self-Sealing Hemostatic Needles by Professor Haeshin Lee of the Department of Chemistry ▲ An Immunological Mechanism for the Contribution of Commensal Microbiota Against Herpes Simplex Virus Infection in Genital Mucosa by Heung Kyu Lee of the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering ▲ Development of a Pulse-Echo Laser Ultrasonic Propagation Imaging System by Professor Jung-Ryul Lee of the Department of Aerospace Engineering ▲ Bi-refractive Stereo Imaging for Single-Shot Depth Acquisition by Professor Min H. Kim of the School of Computing ▲ Development of Environment Friendly Geotechnical Construction Material Using Biopolymer by Professor Gye-Chun Cho of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering ▲ Protein Delivery Via Engineered Exosomes by Professor Chulhee Choi of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering ▲ Hot Electron Detection Under Catalytic Reactions by Professor Jeong Young Park of the Graduate School of EEWS. After the ceremony, President Chen Shiyi of the Southern University of Science and Technology gave a distinguished lecture on the “Global & Entrepreneurial Universities for the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” (Photo:President Shin poses with the 2017 KAIST Research Grand Prize Winner Professor Hoon Sohn on May 23.)
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