China: Attract Talent First, and Outstanding Universities Will Follow

China: Attract Talent First, and Oustanding Universities Will Follow 1

Ricky Wong for The Chronicle

Andrew Chi-Chih Yao (right), director of the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science at China's Tsinghua U., brings in scholars, like Ian Munro of Canada's U. of Waterloo, to enhance a program increasingly known abroad.

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close China: Attract Talent First, and Oustanding Universities Will Follow 1

Ricky Wong for The Chronicle

Andrew Chi-Chih Yao (right), director of the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science at China's Tsinghua U., brings in scholars, like Ian Munro of Canada's U. of Waterloo, to enhance a program increasingly known abroad.

Andrew Chi-Chih Yao's trajectory suggests a genius's quick ascent to success. Born in Shanghai, he studied hard, earned two Ph.D.'s from American universities, and at age 35 was a professor of computer science at Stanford University. By 2000, when he received the A.M. Turing Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in his field, younger computer scientists were memorizing a principle bearing his name.

But when Tsinghua University invited him to return to China to lead a new,