I went to Switzerland to serve on a panel to review progress of one of their major research center in Interactive Multimodal Information Management.Â The panel has 7 members out of which 3 were new this year.Â Interestingly all three of these were of Chinese origin â€“ one from Beijing, one from Hong Kong, and one from Singapore.Â Since the reviewers are selected based on research leadership independent of Nationality and ethnicity, initially I thought that this was an interesting coincidence.Â But is it?Â Or is it a trend.Â Is it that research balance is changing?
Just a few years ago, research papers at leading conferences and in journals were rarely from Chinese researchers from China.Â There were many research papers by Chinese researchers but they were usually working outside China.Â Same was true about Indians â€“ most research papers in conferences and in journals by Indians were from outside India.Â Today the number of research papers in International places are in significant numbers from Chinese researchers from China.Â This is true in most areas of Computer Science and seems to be true in many areas of science and technology.Â For Indians, the situation has not changes; still most of the research published is by Indians from outside India.
Few years ago, number of research papers by Chinese and Indians were about the same.Â Now, there are clearly lot more Chinese authors than India authors.Â In fact, most places Chinese names dominate.Â And this trend seems to be increasing in favor of Chinese.
During my visit to China earlier this month, I clearly saw that the quality of research in our area at two Chinese universities that I visited was very good quality.Â More interestingly, I think the number of Ph.D produced by Fudan university in computer science area is more than 30 every year.Â I think that is probably close to, if not more than, the total Ph.D. production in India.Â So the number of total Ph.D. production in China and India could be in completely different ranges â€“ 2digits in India and 3 or 4 digits in China.Â
So what happened to IITs?Â And other great universities in India.Â IITs are great because of the tough competition to get admissions there.Â Most IIT graduates want to either go to USA for their graduate studies or want to go to Industry.Â Most Masters degree students at IITs are from other universities and they also want to either go to USA for PhD or want to go to Industry.Â And there are very few PhD candidates.Â Those who are there, are mostly professors from smallerÂ universities.Â Most professors in smaller engineer colleges do not have post graduate degrees.Â Moreover, their salaries are usually so low that one start wondering why are they there.
Why is there so much discrepancy in India and China?Â Â Indians are much better in English than Chinese hence there should be more papers by Indians for the same amount of research.Â So the number of papers in English journals only suggests that the real situation is in more favor of Chinese.
The only explanantion that I can think of is that the discrepancy in infrastructure between India and China is not only in physical infrastructure, but is also in educational infrastructure also.Â Shanghai and Bangalore show a true difference in how the physical infra structure has evolved in China and in India making Shanghai one of the best in the world and Bangalore one of the most chaotic place.Â It appears that a similar thing is happening in educational infrastructure.
I do not know how China is achieving this, but if they continue the way there are in education, they are going to be one of the top technology power.Â Good for them.Â Being an Indian-American, however, I am concerned both as an American and as an Indian.