There is a deep interdependency between basic and applied science.
The first Shanghai Master Forum on Science is aimed at building a platform for the dialogue among top-level scientists and could help speed up Shanghai's construction into an international technological innovation center, officials said.
"The Shanghai Master Forum on Science has far-reaching significance for Shanghai in accelerating its development of a global technological innovation center," Dong Yunhu, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee, said at the opening ceremony of the forum held on Nov 15 at Fudan University.
Dong said Shanghai is on the way to building a modern and international socialist metropolis with global influence, so the city is more than ever in need of education, science, talents and strategic support.
He added the city is seeking the guidance of scientific thoughts as well as the driving power of scientific creation.
To reach those goals, Shanghai will concentrate on boosting technological innovation from the very beginning and create open platforms to provide more opportunities and stages for scientific talents, Dong said.
Jiao Yang, Party secretary of Fudan University, said the Shanghai Master Forum on Science was launched with the goal of gathering talents and spreading scientific thoughts.
Fudan University would want Xianghui Hall, a place that has witnessed the making of many top-notch scientists and scholars in the past century, to be the permanent venue of the event.
"The university will spare no efforts in operating the Shanghai Master Forum on Science, develop it into a brand of international opening-up, and make it become a platform for world-class communication by those talents and be the place of origin for cutting-edge scientific thoughts worldwide.
"Adhering to the scientific spirits of openness, equality and preciseness, the Shanghai Master Forum on Science will strive to change the wisdom and experience of scientists into innovative practices, and assist in nurturing more scientific discoveries, technological inventions, industrial directions, as well as new ideas for development," Jiao said.
The forum was highlighted by a keynote speech of professor Michael Levitt, laureate of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry and honorary dean of the Multiscale Research Institute for Complex Systems of Fudan University, who gave an address entitled AI for Science: Frontiers in Computational Biology.
Levitt's hour-long speech described how computational biology has grown from being a "fringe" discipline in modern life sciences to become a leading discipline.
Levitt said it is a very good idea to bring together scientists who are studying different areas to talk about something like artificial intelligence.
He hoped this series will continue talking about such scientific issues because they are vitally important.
Two co-speakers, professor Ma Jianpeng and professor Qi Yuan, both from Fudan University, were also invited to make their presentations entitled "From Algorithm to Application: Full Chain of AI-empowered New Drug Development" and "Artificial Intelligence for Scientific Discovery and Engineering Invention", respectively.
The three speakers in the forum presented to audiences the core of AI technologies, particularly the integration of algorithm and data knowledge of AI models in reforming fundamental subjects, promoting major scientific breakthroughs and discoveries, and improving scientific research ideas and concepts, said Ma Yugang, a Chinese Academy of Sciences academician and assistant president of Fudan University.
The organizer plans to hold six forums every year, with each event inviting a top scientist to make the keynote speech.
The forum would be conducted on a combination of offline speeches and livestreaming which will be available worldwide.
In a bid to facilitate the convergence and spread of scientific thoughts, the forum would also publish a journal, compile a series of books, issue a series of audio and video products, and form a science and technology think tank.