“Ultimately, human resource is our hope”
Serving as the director of the Big Data Institute… on the move to secure the budget to establish big data graduate school two years from now
SNU Prof. Sang Kyun Cha
Studying abroad at Stanford triggered SNU ECE Professor Sang Kyun Cha to open up to innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here, he acquired his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. Stanford, called the mother of Silicon Valley, has produced numerous talents in venture companies and startups. Worldly famous IT companies such as Sun Microsystems, which has now been acquired by Oracle, and Cisco were born at Stanford.
Professor Cha commented that he has become rather accustomed to Silicon Valley while studying at Stanford. In 2005, while he collaborated with Germany’s SAP, a global software company, and led technology development to create a new platform for the digital era, he became aware of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This experience significantly influenced his decision to establish the Big Data Institute at SNU for the first time in 2014.
However, a major portion of his interview was about China’s change rather than the United States. After completing his collaboration work with SAP and visiting China multiple times, he was overwhelmed by the ever-changing situation. Professor Cha said, “I could watch in the field how grand the scale of China’s digitalization was and how systematic its development was. He mentioned that when he visited Nanyang Technological University, Alibaba had constructed an AI center there and invested 50 million dollars. He also said that he will visit Alibaba himself in the near future and feel out its thoughts on investment.
His remark betrayed envy toward China’s innovation speed and frustration over Korea’s innovation at the same time. He lamented, “We know so little about China, and aren’t even bothered to know more. We don’t seem to be concerned about its speed of change, practical policies, and organizational power.”
Professor Cha revealed that he was included in the Thousand Talents Program (a policy to attract human resources by inviting key global talents to China and encouraging the establishment of new companies.) but did not accept the offer because he still had a lot to do in Korea.
Professor Cha strongly believes that Korea still has hope. He said, “If regulations are not relaxed, dreams can still be realized overseas. We must produce enough human resources.” Based on his hope for human resources, he is creating the big data graduate school and has recently received funding from the Ministry of Employment and Labor to launch the 4th Industrial Revolution Academy and Urban Data Science Laboratory.
On the way to the Seoul City Hall after the interview, he repeatedly murmured softly, “There could be regulations, but ultimately, human resources will be our hope.”
Translated by: Jee Hyun Lee, English Editor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org