What is the way for the sudden upsurge of AI specialty?

This year's undergraduate enrollment application ended yesterday. According to the information spread from all over the country, AI majors are particularly popular, and colleges and universities have newly added related majors, and some have also newly established AI colleges. Is this the rigid demand for talent training in short supply, or is it the blind obedience of candidates when choosing majors? As a composite discipline and artificial intelligence major for the cultivation of composite talents, do colleges and universities really have enough detailed preparations for the construction of this new discipline?

Talent gap needs to be filled

In the action plan for AI innovation in Colleges and universities, the Ministry of education proposed to guide colleges and universities to aim at the world's scientific and technological frontier and improve their abilities in scientific and technological innovation, talent training and international cooperation and exchange in the field of AI. By 2020, colleges and universities should basically complete the optimized layout of the scientific and technological innovation system and discipline system of colleges and universities for the development of a new generation of artificial intelligence. By 2030, colleges and universities should become the core force in building the world's major AI innovation center and a talent highland leading the development of a new generation of AI. This action plan is also regarded as an important measure to fill the gap of artificial intelligence talents.

The beginning of undergraduate education in intelligent science and technology in China can be traced back to the establishment of the specialty of intelligent science and technology in Peking University in 2003. At that time, its professional code was '080627s', which means 'trial'. In September, 2012, in the newly revised catalogue of undergraduate majors in general colleges and universities released by the Ministry of education, intelligent science and technology majors became 'ad hoc' majors, placed under computer majors. As it is a brand-new discipline system, from the perspective of the settings of colleges and universities in the past two years, it is mainly divided into three types. One is to directly add artificial intelligence majors, such as Peking University and Tsinghua University, which have successively opened 'artificial intelligence classes' to focus on cultivating talents in artificial intelligence. The other is to add artificial intelligence training direction in relevant general majors, some in industrial robot technology, some in computer science and technology, and some in automation, intelligent control technology and other majors. The third situation is to recombine similar majors, or list the teaching and research tasks related to AI in similar majors for overall planning, and set up a new 'Ai College' independently.

According to the statistics of the Ministry of education, 35 colleges and universities in China have newly set up artificial intelligence majors, 101 New Colleges and universities have set up robot engineering majors, 96 new colleges and universities have set up intelligent science and technology majors, and 50 colleges and universities have included the training of talents in the field of artificial intelligence into the 'double first-rate' training program.

Actively respond to national strategies

Is it really 'what the state calls, what the school should do'? What is the real internal motivation for colleges and universities to set up artificial intelligence majors?

Professor Du Wenli, Dean of the school of information science and engineering of East China University of science and technology, said that the main purpose is to connect the national development strategy in the field of artificial intelligence and the urgent needs of talents in various industries in the field of artificial intelligence, and to cultivate students how to use computers to simulate, extend and expand human intelligence, including visual, auditory and other sensory functions, human understanding and cognitive functions of things, human decision-making and executive functions, etc. East China University of science and technology has long carried out research in brain computer interface, intelligent control, computational intelligence and other fields, which has laid a good foundation for the new major of intelligent science and technology, and can cultivate compound professional and technical talents in brain cognitive science, intelligent manufacturing, robotics and other fields.

While continuing to maintain and consolidate the advantages of a number of strong disciplines such as civil engineering and architecture, Tongji University actively responds to the national strategic needs, vigorously promotes the construction of 'new engineering' and the reform and innovation of engineering education, and accelerates the cultivation of a number of innovative and outstanding engineering and technological talents in emerging fields. As one of the first batch of colleges and universities qualified for the construction of artificial intelligence majors in China, Tongji has enrolled the first batch of Undergraduates in artificial intelligence majors since this year. Combined with the traditional advantages and future development of the school, the new major will focus on the 'intelligence' center, feature 'perception' and 'autonomous intelligence', focus on the study of artificial intelligence theory, methods and technology, and cultivate professional talents for realizing the long-term dream of human development of intelligent devices and systems and endowing machine intelligence through autonomous devices and systems represented by robots and unmanned vehicles.

Cultivate more 'hard technology' Talents

To build a new discipline and set up a new major, especially a discipline and major such as artificial intelligence, which is closely related to the development level of modern high technology, in the words of insiders, 'if you want to do this porcelain work, you have to have diamond in your hand'. The first one is the level of teachers. At present, there are many colleges and universities that offer general professional AI training. After all, no university can compete with famous universities such as Tsinghua and Peking University. They can directly establish AI colleges and hire academician level experts to teach. Most schools are still in the process of building, and the teaching staff and teaching content are in a new starting stage.

Relying on the two advantageous disciplines of control science and engineering, computer science and technology and the intersection Research Institute of artificial intelligence and intelligent manufacturing, the artificial intelligence major of East China University of science and technology is committed to cultivating students to engage in scientific research, technology development, engineering design and implementation related to intelligent science and technology in the fields of intelligent manufacturing, autonomous unmanned systems, man-machine hybrid intelligence, etc Engineering innovative talents in organization and management. At the same time, this new major also pays attention to the cultivation of international compound talents, establishes multi-mode cooperation with many foreign universities such as the University of Missouri in the United States and the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, and jointly trains students by means of mutual recognition of credits.

Some experts said that 'hard technology', such as artificial intelligence, has suddenly become a popular major to fill in the college entrance examination, which is affected by the macro environment of the national economic and technological development. At present, China is accelerating the construction of an innovative country. An innovative country driven by scientific and technological innovation must rely on solid basic research, as well as the high-tech and even disruptive technologies that are constantly emerging from it. However, the current talent supply and demand is seriously unbalanced. The education and examination center of the Ministry of industry and information technology once revealed that China's artificial intelligence talent gap is more than 5million, and it should provide a steady stream of talent resources for the development of 'hard technology' through the training of colleges and universities. According to the report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, as early as the second half of 2018, driven by national policies, the first round of financing in the technology industry surpassed the Internet and mobile Internet for the first time, accounting for 47% of the total first round of financing. This means that the number of blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, intelligent Internet of things and other IT service enterprises will increase in the future, and jobs will also increase.

Continuously improve professional level

Some colleges and universities said that it is no exaggeration to use 'caught off guard' to describe the sudden popularity of AI majors in college enrollment. According to the global AI development report released by Netease technology and Wuzhen think tank in 2016, the top AI universities in China are Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Zhejiang University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, etc. At present, domestic Internet and high-tech giants are particularly keen to recruit graduates of AI related majors. If they are doctors, their initial annual salary is almost more than 300000 yuan.

Interestingly, in the booming year of AI majors, the Ministry of education has also abolished many majors at the same time. Judging from the list of withdrawn majors, it is not entirely because of the 'cold'. Taking the major of clothing and costume design as an example, about 17 colleges and universities have abolished this major. According to the analysis of insiders, it is not that the clothing major should be eliminated and the society does not need it, but that the establishment of this major must have certain strength and even inside information. From the perspective of colleges and universities that have abolished this major, most of them have a mediocre reputation in the field of textiles and clothing. It is in this sense that recruiters specially remind candidates that they should not rush to fill in their volunteers, let alone blindly follow them, but should carefully consider the school's running level.

It is reported that the Ministry of education has put forward clear requirements for colleges and universities to strengthen the construction and management of new majors, highlight social needs, and reasonably control enrollment plans according to their own conditions. At the same time, we should constantly improve the professional level and connotation, and effectively ensure the quality of talent training. Tongji recruitment office said that for the school, the new artificial intelligence major is not only a matter of professional layout, but more importantly, it is to take the lead in the construction of Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Science Center, start the construction of 'intelligent science and technology' peak disciplines, use 'artificial intelligence +' to give new momentum to Tongji's traditional disciplines, and derive new composite majors such as intelligent cars and intelligent buildings.

35 colleges and universities in China have newly set up artificial intelligence majors

101 New Colleges and universities set up robot engineering majors

96 new colleges and universities set up intelligent science and technology majors

50 colleges and universities have included the training of talents in the field of artificial intelligence into the 'double first-class' training program