Institute of Information Science
Director's Message
yew      Welcome to the Institute of Information Science (IIS) at Academia Sinica. Since the establishment of the Institute of Information Science (IIS) in 1982, at the dawn of the information technology (IT) revolution in Taiwan, it has experienced very rapid growth in less than three decades. Since its inception, IIS has emerged as one of the leading research institutes in both computer and information science and related technologies in Taiwan. It has grown from a handful of people to the current 38 research fellows with about 30 post-doctoral researchers, and slightly more than 300 full-time research associates and specialists. Almost two-thirds of the research fellows received their PhD degrees from major universities in the USA or Europe, and another third from the top universities in Taiwan. Many of them have also received distinguished awards and honors both nationally and internationally.
Although IIS is not a degree-granting academic institute, nearly all the research fellows supervise or co-supervise MS and PhD students in topranked Computer Science departments in Taiwan, and collaborate very closely with their faculty members. One exception is the international graduate program in Bioinformatics under the auspices of the Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP) in Academia Sinica. The PhD program was established in 2002, and has enrolled about 31 students over the last seven years. Many of our research fellows hold joint faculty appointments at top universities in Taiwan. This factor has played a very significant role in training and fostering advanced research talents in the IT industry and academia in Taiwan.
As the IT industry has long been the crown jewel of Taiwan’s economic miracle and the envy of the world, IIS strives to play a unique role in this major endeavor. It has always focused on fundamental and long-term research to further Taiwan’s competitive edge and sustain the growth of this strategic enterprise.. At the same time, the Institute /manages a research portfolio that includes cutting-edge, application-oriented information technologies that are unique to Taiwan’s society and culture. Our main research areas cover a wide spectrum of fields in both computer and information science. Many are cross-disciplinary and require close collaboration with researchers in bio-medical sciences, social sciences, liberal arts and other major fields.
For example, we lead a major research effort in Chinese language processing and its related technologies for knowledge extraction and acquisition. Many indispensible tools and infrastructures used for research in this field today were developed at IIS, including the first balanced Chinese corpus (known as Sinica Corpus). It contains more than 5 million words with part-of-speech tagging, and is available at http://www.sinica.edu.tw/SinicaCorpus . The project has already issued more than 130 licenses to major research groups around the world, as well as major commercial enterprises like Yahoo and Apple. The group has also developed knowledge acquisition techniques for Chinese language-based information to construct ontology structures as well as linguistic and common knowledge databases for information processing and logical inference. Currently, the group is developing sophisticated Chinese search engines that combine machine learning techniques to provide more concise and accurate results to users.
In multi-media research, a group has been focusing on the restoration and enhancement of digitized multi-media materials from archived old and rare pictures and films of extremely poor quality, many with historical significance. It developed advanced techniques that have successfully restored and enhanced many of those archives with good visual details and greatly improved quality. These are some of the key technologies and research efforts that enable IIS to play a leading role in the National Digital Archives Program - a 10-year national program supported by several government agencies with a substantial funding level and a wide spectrum of applications that involve maps, pictures, documents, and audio and video data obtained and maintained by many academic, government, and private organizations.
There are many other research projects in IIS, including research in spatial information processing systems to develop standard data schema and efficient conversion techniques for geographical information systems (GIS) that could facilitate the sharing of spatial data across a variety of different GIS systems; research in computer networking that designs self-configurable, self-healing, and self-protecting mechanisms to support effective data transmission in opportunistic ad hoc wireless networks, such as those needed in a disaster area in which all the main communication infrastructures were destroyed by an earthquake or a typhoon - common occurrences in Taiwan; research in bio-informatics that studies protein structures and predicts protein-protein interaction with enhanced accuracy. It has also produced the first semantic role-labeling system for biomedical literature and developed literature mining techniques that could provide highly accurate gene and protein name identification, currently an extremely tedious and time consuming process. Finally, the Institute conducts research into complexity theory, with the focus on the construction of various randomness extractors that could be used in cryptography to derive extremely secure encryption schemes, an increasingly critical technology for on-line transactions and communications. The above projects are just a small sample of many highly visible research projects being conducted in IIS.
Many of our research efforts have significant practical implications and may even generate potential commercial opportunities. In addition, many of our application-oriented and development-intensive projects require different specialists to maintain and support application software and interact with large user communities. To facilitate such efforts, the Research Center for Information Technology Innovation (CITI) was established in 2007 to work synergistically with IIS. Since the establishment of CITI, IIS has transferred several large projects that are heavily application oriented and have significant developmental components to CITI. They include the above-mentioned National Digital Archives Program; the Grid and Scientific Computing Program, which supports grid computing by physicists; and the Taiwan Information Security Program, which focuses on the training and recruitment of advanced information security talents in Taiwan. There are also several projects, such as Free and Open Source Software, Sensor Information Systems for Active Retirees and Assisted Living (SISARL) and some components in Bioinformatics. We look forward to working closely with CITI.
These are exciting and challenging times for IT research and the IT industry in Taiwan. Many emerging technologies and opportunities are on the horizon. IIS, in working with the newly established CITI, looks forward to a concerted effort in leading the fundamental and practical research in this important field.

sign of yew
May 2010

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