Institute of Information Science
Director's Message
yew     Welcome to the Institute of Information Science (IIS) at Academia Sinica.

Since the established 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. Currently, we have 38 research fellows with about 30 post-doctoral researchers, and slightly more than 300 full-time research associates and specialists. Many of them have received distinguished awards and honors both nationally and internationally. We are especially happy that Prof. Wen-Tsuen Chen, a former President of Tsing Hua University, joined us as a Distinguished Research Fellow this year.

Many research fellows supervise or co-supervise MS and PhD students in top-ranked Computer Science departments in Taiwan, and collaborate very closely with their faculty members. In 2003, a PHD program was established in Bioinformatics under the auspices of the Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP) in Academia Sinica. It has enrolled about 34 students over the past eight years, which has benefited the biological research a great deal in Academia Sinica. Many of our research fellows hold joint faculty appointments at top universities in Taiwan, which 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.

We lead a major research effort in Chinese language processing. IIS developed the first balanced Sinica Corpus with more than 5 million words and part-of-speech tagging, which is available at http://www.sinica.edu.tw/SinicaCorpus. More than 130 licenses have been issued to major research groups and companies around the world, including Yahoo and Apple. Our intelligent Chinese input system, “GOING”, has been used by more than a million people in Taiwan. We have also developed Chinese word segment system (http://ckipsvr.iis.sinica.edu.tw/) that has processed more than a million documents. In addition, we have developed Chinese question answering system that has won major international competition. Currently, the group is developing sophisticated Chinese natural language tools combining pattern matching and machine learning techniques to provide more concise and accurate results to users.

In early 2008, our colleagues developed a “people counting’’ system which can effectively count the number of people who have watched advertisements in front of a TV wall during a period of time. This product won the 15th small business innovative research award sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the best choice award of 2009 Computex Taipei. In 2010, we developed a blur license plate image recognition system, which is the first in the world that could solve the blur license plate image recognition problem in a systematic manner. We have also successfully transferred our technologies on online game traffic and user behavior analysis to Gamania Inc., one of the biggest game companies in Taiwan. Our technology has helped them reduce the frequency of network lags and game cheating incidents. IIS built an efficient agent-based simulation system, which has been used by CDC, Taiwan since 2010 in preparation to deal with the H1N1 pandemic flu outbreak. Finally, the Institute conducts research in 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.

Our research in bioinformatics has also flourished. We lead the world in the prediction accuracy of membrane protein structure, and structure similarity of proteins. We have produced a complete suite of mass spectrometry data analysis tools. We have studied several important issues on plant photosynthesis and microRNA biology and published the results on top biological journals. In gene regulation, we have successfully developed computational approaches to identify the function and binding sites of transcription factors. Our colleagues have received the World Cloud Research Collaboration Project awarded by Microsoft Research. Finally, IIS has 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, which can save tremendous amount of time for biomedical researchers.

Many of our research efforts have significant practical implications, which could generate potential commercial opportunities. In addition, many of our applicationoriented 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.

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
June 2012

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