Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 24, 2016, — The 39th Annual Conference of New England Association of Chinese Professionals (NEACP) will be held this Saturday, Oct. 29, at MIT. This year’s conference features four distinguished speakers, and has a them of “Technology, Literature, Past and Future.
Picture from NEACP’s 35th annual meeting (bostonese.com file photo).
MIT – Cambridge Chinese Choral Society will perform right after lunch break. To register for the confenrence, please visit www.eventbrite.com/e/neacp-39th-annual-conference-tickets-27668230422.
The following is introduction of the four speakers and their speech titles.
As parents or grandparents you may wonder what would be the “best” fields for your children or grandchildren to enter. A hot field these days is computer science, which studies intelligent software for big data and machine learning. For example, with deep learning, Google’s computer programs have recently defeated a professional 9 dan GO player. It seems that all fields ranging from biology and material to business and social sciences are hiring computer scientists as fast as they can. Is this enthusiasm a passing fad or a lasting phenomenon (at least long enough for your children)? It is a hard question to answer, especially if we notice the fact that computer science was hot at least twice before in the just past thirty years. In this presentation I will share some personal insights on this matter.
HT Kung is William H. Gates Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Harvard University. He is interested in computing, networking, communications and sensing, with a current focus on machine learning, high-performance computing and the Internet of Things. He has been a consultant to major companies in these areas. Prior to joining Harvard in 1992, he taught at Carnegie Mellon University for 19 years after receiving his Ph.D. there. Professor Kung is well-known for his pioneering work on systolic arrays in parallel processing, network protocols for mobile computing, and optimistic concurrency control in database systems. His academic honors include elected member in the National Academy of Engineering, elected member of Academia Sinica (Taiwan), and the ACM SIGOPS 2015 Hall of Fame Award (with John Robinson) that recognizes the most influential Operating Systems papers that were published at least ten years in the past. Professor Kung received his BS degree from National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Nanjing Never Cries: A Novel
Speaker: Prof. Hong Zheng
Set in the city of Nanjing during the time of the Sino-Japanese war (1937 – 1945), this novel tells the story of four people caught up in the violence and tumult of these years: John Winthrop and his MIT classmate, the brilliant Chinese physicist Calvin Ren (Ren Kewen); Judy, Calvin’s Chinese-American wife; and the beautiful and determined young woman Chen May. John and Calvin take up positions at Nanjing’s National Central University and collaborate on a top-secret project to design and build warplanes to enable the Chinese to defend themselves against Japanese bombers. Meanwhile, John enjoys his new life in Nanjing. He helps the lovely May with her English, falling a little in love with her; he shops for antiques; meets with Chiang Kai-Shek and Madame Chiang; and once attends an evening’s entertainment at one of Nanjing’s notorious Wine Houses.
But when the Japanese invade, there is no safe place in the city. The Japanese murder, torture, and rape indiscriminately. (The invasion and occupation were described by the historian Iris Chang as “the forgotten holocaust.”) May sees her own family killed; John works in a shelter for women and children; Calvin’s family flees the city while Calvin, weakened by overwork, stays behind to work on the warplane project. Each tries to survive against the odds.
May vows to hunt down the soldier who murders her father. When the war is over, she finds him sweeping Nanjing streets as a war prisoner. The story then ends with the force of an explosion. Vivid and disturbing, Nanjing Never Cries offers a compelling story of the horror of war and the power of love and friendship.
Hung Cheng is a professor of Applied Mathematics in the theoretical physics group of the Department of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received the B.Sc and the Ph.D. degrees from California Institute of Technology, in 1959 and 61. He had post-doctorate research appointments at Caltech, Princeton University and Harvard University before joining the MIT faculty in applied mathematics in 1965. In 1978, Professor Cheng was elected Member of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica.
Prof. Cheng has also served as the Chairman of the Applied Mathematics Committee at the MIT Department of Mathematics. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal Studies in Applied Mathematics. He is cited in the reference book American Men and Women of Science. His recent research interests have been directed to the mathematical physics of dark matter and dark energy.
Cold War Island: Jinmen on the Frontline – Jinmen on the Frontline
Speaker: Prof. Michael Szonyi
For decades after 1949, the small island of Jinmen, also known as Quemoy, in the Taiwan Strait was both flashpoint and front-line of the unfinished Chinese civil war and the global Cold War. It was a place where everyday life was profoundly shaped by global geopolitics. Jinmen became one of the most highly militarized societies in world history, in ways that were both tragic and comic. The story of Jinmen offers a powerful message about the impact of militarization on human society.
Michael Szonyi is Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University. He is most interested in the local history of southeastern China from the Ming dynasty to the present, and in using the history of ordinary people to challenge conventional historical narratives. He is the author of Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China and Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Front Line and editor of the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Chinese History.
Blue Field, the Sea and Spring Silkworms – Emotions in Literature and Movies
Speaker: Frederick Hsia
Prof. Hsia has been a Bridge Design Engineer, a Project Geotechnical Engineer and a Special Emphasis Program Manager. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and a Registered Geotechnical Engineer. Currently he teaches at National Cheng Kung University and National Tsing Hua University. He is the only professor in literature with degrees in engineering in Taiwan. His first novel “Summer Hunt” won the 1994 National Literature and Art Award in Taiwan. He was awarded the “Technology and Humanity Award” in 2006 by the Chinese Institute of Engineers/USA. At CIE/USA, he has been the Chairman for the Civil Engineering Group. He is also a Board Member of the Taipei Chien-Kuo High School.