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Over the past two years, I have watched eScience take root in China. The movement advanced in the first and second Chinese eScience forums and in various eScience projects that were developed by the Computer Network Information Center (CNIC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). During this time, Microsoft Research collaborated closely with the CAS, exchanging ideas through joint workshops, student contests, and lectures such as the keynote that Tony Hey, vice president of Microsoft Research Connections, delivered at the CAS meetings in 2010.
Through these channels, a foundational concept of eScience—that we are entering a new fourth paradigm for science where discovery advances through data-intensive computing—was introduced to the Chinese eScience community and attracted the attention of the CAS. In late 2010, Xiaolin Zhang, the executive director of the National Science Library of the CAS, proposed a Chinese translation of The Fourth Paradigm, a seminal collection of essays that describe the practice and promise of data-intensive science. I am happy to report that through the efforts of the CAS and the support of Microsoft Research, the Chinese edition of The Fourth Paradigm premiered in Beijing on October 23.
Tony Hey and Stewart Tansley, two of the book’s co-editors, joined Lolan Song, Steve Yamashiro, and me at the launch event. On behalf of Microsoft Research, Tony donated copies of the book to more than 80 Chinese university libraries, observing that "The advance of science depends on how well researchers collaborate with one another, and marry science with technology." I, for one, am confident that the publication of the Chinese edition of The Fourth Paradigm will foster just such endeavors.
Jiaofeng Pan, the deputy secretary-general of the CAS and one of the book’s Chinese translators, spoke highly of the Chinese edition. “Building on the studies from the field of eScience, the book proposes the fourth paradigm for scientific research: data-intensive science as well as academic exchange based on big data. This book opens the door to a new paradigm of scientific research, greatly enhancing awareness of the huge impact of the digital revolution in the research and information network.”
Through the release of the Chinese edition, we sincerely hope to help Chinese researchers in a variety of fields to understand and utilize this revolutionary development in research methodology. To further speed the adoption of data-intensive approaches to research, Microsoft Research has agreed to donate 2 million hours of access to Windows Azure cloud resources, as well as 15 terabytes of Windows Azure storage space, to research projects at the CNIC over the next two years, which will enable Chinese researchers to apply the concepts of the fourth paradigm by using the Windows Azure platform.
In 2013, the IEEE International Conference on e-Science and the Microsoft eScience Workshop will be held jointly in Beijing. Looking forward to those events, we anticipate even more progress in eScience research in China.
—Guobin Wu, Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Asia