AI Graduate School to Take the Lead in Shaping the Future of AI
(Dean Chong shows the plaque of the AI Graduate School with Vice Minister of Science and ICT Min during the opening ceremony on Aug.26)
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.
(President Shin delivers welcoming remarks during the opening ceremony.)
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.”