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Sogou Company Donated 180 Million RMB to Tsinghua to Establish Tiangong Institute for Intelligent Computing

Tsinghua University held a donation ceremony at the Tsinghua Garden on April 22nd morning. The company, Sogou, donated 180 million RMB to Tsinghua, for both parties to collaborate in establishing Tiangong Institute for Intelligent Computing of Tsinghua University. This would further advance the research of both parties, based on the work of the Tsinghua and Sogou Search Engine Technology Joint Laboratory, and into the frontier of the artificial intelligence technology.

The following officials attended the signing ceremony:

-      Mr. Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University;

-      Mr. Wu Jianping, Deputy Vice-President of Tsinghua;

-      Mr. Sun Maosong, Director of the Department of Computer Science;

-      Mr. Zhang Chaoyang, Secretary of the Party Committee;

-      Mr. Wang Xianchuan, Chairman of the Board and of Sogou;

-      Mr. Ru Liyun, CEO of Sogou; and

-      Mr. Yang Hongtao, Vice President of Sogou.

The Vice-President of Tsinghua, Mr. Yang Bin, hosted the ceremony.

Mr. Qiu Yong, representing Tsinghua University, expressed sincere gratitude towards Sogou, Mr. Zhang Chaoyang, Mr. Wang Xiaochuan and the other alumni present. He said that, at this moment of the 105th anniversary of Tsinghua University, such a donation to Tsinghua is important and has a special meaning, which highlighted its anniversary. He further expressed that the greater the honour for the alumni, the greater would be the honour for Tsinghua. Whenever the alumni made any positive contribution to society, and played a leading role, Tsinghua would be very proud of them. The members of the alumni have great success in their careers, and they have contributed and supported the university’s development, whereby they have also brought more passion and enthusiasm to Tsinghua. Tsinghua would continue to support the development of its alumni and Sogou in their technological talents and other advantages. Tsinghua’s future would be more innovative, more internationalized and more humanistic. “Thank you all for bringing the warmth to this goal.”

The cooperation between Tsinghua and Sogou resulted in the founding of the Tsinghua and Sogou Search Engine Technology Joint Laboratory in 2007. During the 9 years of cooperation, both sides proposed and agreed on the concept of “construct buildings, invite experts and seek great issues”. They wish, through this cooperation, to advance towards artificial intelligence at the top level worldwide.

The Research Institute invited the Deputy Vice-President of Tsinghua University, Mr. Cheng Jianping, to take up the post of the Director of Management Committee in order to establish the internationalisation of the Institute. At the ceremony, he said, “From the Joint Laboratory of 9 years ago until today’s Research Institute, it has not been just simple duplication. Our cooperation has three levels of meaning: Firstly, the research field advanced from search engine to artificial intelligence. Secondly, from a joint-cooperation between a university and a company to docking at the highest level globally. And finally, the research team expanded from just Tsinghua and Sogou to become the world’s top talent and expert.” He said that he would put in effort to support security and coordinate work. This would advance the construction and development of the Research Institute, thus allowing Tsinghua to offer its rightful contribution to China’s internet industry.

Mr. Zhang Chaoyang studied at Tsinghua’s department of physics in 1981, and is now the Chairman of Sogou. He said, “I spent my most important 5 years in Tsinghua; by attracting brilliant students from Tsinghua, Sofu and Sogou were able to be established and develop. Therefore, we have to contribute back and feel gratified towards Tsinghua. Tsinghua is the most advanced university in China, especially in the fields of computer and artificial intelligence; it represents the highest level of China. In this cooperation, the Research Institute is not only a building, it is also an attraction for the top experts around the world to come and do research together, and to create technologies which is world class. This cooperation is a milestone for Sohu and Sogou. With the combined efforts of the teachers and students of Tsinghua and us, the Research Institute would have a fruitful advancement.”

Mr. Wang Xiaochuan studied at Tsinghua’s department of computer science in 1996, and is now the CEO of Sogou. He said, “The new peak competition between network companies is the transition from connection to intelligence. The internet business model of any Chinese company is comparable to that of the USA; however, there is still a great gap between frontier technologies. Sogou not only wants to establish a research institute and becomes the leading technology company in China, but also to join hands with China’s top engineering university to keep innovating, and then to catch up or even surpass those at the top global level. This 180 million is only the beginning.” Mr. Wang pointed out that, Sogou has been putting a great amount of effort into technology research. In 2015, Sogou’s income was nearly $600 million, and 22% of that was for research.

Mr. Wu Jianping is the Director of the Department of Computer Science and an academician in the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He said, “April 22nd is a very memorable day in the history of Tsinghua’s Department of Computer Science. During the process of establishing the world’s first-class computer science, this will become an important part of our department’s developmental history.” Mr. Wu expressed gratitude towards Sohu, Sogou and the alumni for their generous donation. This helps our Department to realise the wish in the concept to “construct buildings, invite experts and seek great issues” during the university’s 105 anniversary. He expressed that this day would be the starting point, and China would contribute to the world’s research in artificial intelligence.

President Qiu Yong, on behalf of the university, presented the donation certificate and a souvenir to Mr. Zhang Cahoyang.